Donna Gilby, 47, was forced to wait for an ambulance for six hours after breaking her foot. She died of a cardiac arrest when she finally reached the hospital.
Health care systems across the world are suffering. Burdened by overpopulation, underfunding, and a lack of skilled doctors and other workers, health care institutions risk providing subpar care or no care at all to their patients. There is nowhere this is truer than in the United Kingdom, where the National Health Service (NHS) is severely understaffed, leading to cases of death in many situations. Most recently, a woman succumbed to a broken foot and a deadly cardiac arrest. She was forced to wait for an ambulance for six hours. Ever since, the NHS has been severely criticized for its sad inability to send an ambulance on time, The Telegraph reports.
Donna Gilby, 47, was forced to remain on the freezing pavement when she broke her foot after slipping in her home Cwmaman, South Wales, on Tuesday morning. Her family and neighbors had covered her with blankets and coats while she waited for the ambulance. Though her friends and family had called the emergency number several times, emergency services did not send an ambulance until six hours later. When she finally reached the hospital, she went into cardiac arrest and passed away immediately. The incident has left Gilby's family completely shaken. Moreover, a photo of her sleeping on the pavement during her wait has since gone viral across social media platforms.
Allegedly, Gilby, a mother of one, had struggled with ill health for several years before this incident occurred. Her father, Gareth Gilby, 74, stated in an interview with The Telegraph, "It's just not right that she was waiting all those hours. There was nothing we could do because she had a bad break and we couldn't physically move her from the pavement. We kept ringing the ambulance and she was in and out of consciousness but they still didn't show up for hours. I still can't believe she's gone. I'm in shock. We've got an 11-year-old girl here now without a mother. It shouldn't have happened. She was as good as gold and always put others before herself - she'd do anything for anyone."
Following Gilby's tragic death, the Welsh ambulance services responded in an official statement. They chose to blame the immense pressures on the health service; a high number of priority calls meant they could not respond to the family's desperate calls. Chief executive Jason Killens affirmed, "We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Ms Gilby and would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to her family. We are sorry that our response took longer than we would have liked on this occasion. Our ambulance service exists to care for people, and our staff share the same upset and frustrations as patients and their loved ones at times like this. Lengthy waits for an ambulance are a sign of pressures across the whole unscheduled care system, not just in Wales but across the UK. An increase in high-priority ‘Red’ calls and significant hospital handover delays in particular are impacting on our ability to respond to 999 calls as quickly as we would like." While this is of course a logistical tragedy, more must be done to ensure patients get the help they need and deserve. The UK government has blood on its hands.