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Parents of North Walsham teenager with heart problem who fitted and became unconscious are upset after her hour-long ambulance wait

PUBLISHED: 10:11 21 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:11 21 November 2014

Jessica Read, 15, who had a long wait for an ambulance after she fell unconscious. Pictured with her dad Adrian.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Jessica Read, 15, who had a long wait for an ambulance after she fell unconscious. Pictured with her dad Adrian. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Parents of an unwell teenage girl who started violently fitting are upset after having to wait one hour for an ambulance.

Jess Read, 15, from Brunswick Close in North Walsham, who has an abnormal heartbeat, became unconscious and had be to be taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) where she stayed overnight.

Her parents Cireena, 39, and Adrian, 45, praised her treatment from all emergency service workers as five star but said improvements needed to be made to the East of England Ambulance Service.

Mrs Read said: “I said to Adrian at one point ‘Are we going to lose her.’ That was terrifying. We said the next day we were lucky to still have her. Everything goes through your mind during something like that.”

The Sheringham High School teenager became unconscious and started fitting just before 9.28pm last Monday, when her mother called 999.

A paramedic in a response car arrived just before 9.48pm and gave emergency care.

The ambulance, with two paramedics, left the NNUH at 9.59pm and arrived at North Walsham at 10.24pm. It arrived at the hospital with the teenager at 11.41pm.

Police officers and the East Anglian Air Ambulance were also called.

Mrs Read said: “Fits can go one way or another. It was not nice at all. Something needs to be done to improve the system.”

Her husband said: “It was terrible. She was fitting and it was made two times worse by the delay. I did feel upset. I was very frightened.”

He did not blame individual paramedics or the call handler for the delay.

The fit was not connected to the teenager’s heart problem but she used to have minor fits as a child.

Jess has had to go to the NNUH a dozen times after being diagnosed with ventricular bigeminy in July this year.

Her family recently moved from Trunch to North Walsham for easier access to emergency services.

Diane Chan, senior locality manager for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, said: “I would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in getting to Jess. Our service in the county was significantly affected by handover delays at hospitals on Monday, but we are working hard to improve the service we give to people in Norfolk by recruiting more paramedics and increasing ambulance cover.”

The service has offered contracts to 129 student paramedics and nine graduate and qualified paramedics and emergency medical technicians to work in Norfolk.


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