Natalie McMorran, 37, was awoken with chest pains in the middle of the night. She urged her partner Thomas Tapping, 35, to call 999 because she knew “something was seriously wrong”.
The call handler logged the call, but after more than two hours passed and no ambulance had arrived, they decided to make the journey to University Hospital Coventry themselves, rather than continuing to wait.
Moments after she arrived at the hospital, Ms McMorran suffered a cardiac arrest while she was in the waiting room at A&E. Her heart stopped beating for a full five minutes before she was resuscitated.
She spent the next week in intensive care, followed by a week in critical care. Investigations into the cause of her ill health were ongoing.
Despite no pre-existing heart condition, Ms McMorran has now been fitted with two stents and been diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
Since the incident, the couple from Rugby, Warwickshire have complained to University Hospital’s Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust about the ambulance delays.
Ms McMorran said, “I was scared. I knew something was seriously wrong with me and the ambulance kept trying to brush it off.
We waited two and a half hours for an ambulance before Thomas decided to take me to the hospital instead.
We waited half an hour in A&E once we got there and I couldn’t get comfy. I had to lie myself on the floor in this little corridor and people kept coming over having a go at me.
I begged for triage for a bed and threw up in the room, but they still sent me back out.
I don’t remember much after that as once I was back in the waiting room; I had a fit and then a cardiac arrest.
I was resuscitated after five minutes and moved to intensive care where I stayed for a week before being moved to the critical care unit.
The doctor said he wished I’d been seen sooner. I feel like I’ve been let down and now I get out of breath just going to the car. It could have been dealt with better and if they’d picked up on it sooner it might have been different.”
Ms McMorran first complained about chest pains at approximately 1am on March 22nd.
“I had a funny turn earlier on in the day and thought I was just a bit lightheaded,” she said, “I went to bed at 11pm and woke up at 1am feeling like I’d been hit with a brick in-between my shoulders.
I was getting really hot and would go to get some fresh air by the door to cool down before getting really cold and needing to heat up under a blanket.”
When Thomas Tapping made the 999 call, he told the call handler what was happening but was told he would need to wait.
Ms McMorran’s symptoms began to settle, and she fell back to sleep, but was rapidly woken again and began vomiting and suffering from an extreme temperature.
At approximately 3am, Mr Tapping drove her to the hospital and says they were made to wait a further half an hour before a triage nurse saw them. The nurse told them to go back into the waiting room.
Twenty minutes later, Ms McMorran suffered a cardiac arrest. Her heart stopped for five minutes before doctors revived her.
A spokesperson for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality as the reason.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We would like to apologise to Ms Morran for the delayed response.’
We received a call at 1:21am on Tuesday, March 22, to a patient with breathing difficulties, a category two call.
Further calls were received at 2am, 2:18am and 3:13am, during which the patient was re-triaged, and on each occasion, a category two response was generated, the second-highest.”