Family’s anger after Norwich grandmother dies following long wait to reach hospital

Joyce Taylor from Thorpe End died on September 25 2012. Photo: Submitted

Joyce Taylor from Thorpe End died on September 25 2012. Photo: Submitted

A family has described their torment after a grandmother who fell ill was not taken to hospital for several hours where she later died.

Joyce Taylor's husband Bill and son Stephen. Photo: Steve Adams

Joyce Taylor's husband Bill and son Stephen. Photo: Steve Adams

The family of Joyce Taylor said the wait meant that the last hours of the 77-year-old's life were needlessly painful.

Following her death Mrs Taylor's GP wrote to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) and said: 'Although she (Mrs Taylor) might not have been saved had the ambulance attended earlier her and her family could certainly have been saved ongoing pain and distress.'

Mrs Taylor woke up with abdominal pains on the morning of September 24 2012 but did not get to hospital until around 5pm.

She died in the early hours of the next morning.

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But the ambulance service said it had not been called by the GP surgery until 2.17pm requesting an ambulance and had aimed to get to Mrs Taylor within two hours as the call was not an emergency request.

Paramedics arrived shortly after 4.30pm and took Mrs Taylor to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N).

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The grandmother-of-two fell ill at her home on Padgate, Thorpe End, outside Norwich.

She had been complaining about abdominal pains for several days and had started to vomit that morning.

Mrs Taylor called her GP at around 9.30am who attended at around 12.30pm and called an ambulance, arranging for her patient to be taken to the N&N.

According to the letter the doctor asked for an 'urgent' ambulance to attend.

But the ambulance service recorded the call at 2.17pm and said an emergency vehicle was not requested.

Her son Stephen Taylor, who was with his mother on the day, said: 'The doctor said it (the ambulance) should be here within the hour.

'I was ringing them and they rang me twice. I was saying, my mum was examined by the doctor, where is the ambulance? They kept saying, we are very busy and we well get to you asap.'

Mr Taylor went to his parent's house that morning and found his mother on the phone to the doctor.

'She was in severe pain then,' he said. 'She kept trying to be sick all the time. She was crying in pain. I was stuck in the middle not knowing what to do.

'When the ambulance turned up she said, I'm in so much pain. I think I'm going to die and she showed me her funeral arrangements.'

Mr Taylor, a full-time carer for his father Bill, followed the ambulance on the ten-mile trip to the hospital.

He said it did not put on its sirens or lights and he drove behind it at normal driving pace.

'I couldn't believe it,' he said. 'They (the paramedics) said, why didn't you take your mother to hospital yourself?'

Mrs Taylor, a retired cleaner, died in the N&N in the early hours of the morning on September 25 from a perforated bowel.

She had previously been ill and had an operation at the hospital, but the cause of death was not put down to the surgery.

Mr Taylor, 46, said: 'It was just unnecessary suffering.

'Something could have been done earlier if she had been put on pain killers.

'I had thought it (the ambulance) would be there within about 15 minutes. I thought even an hour.'

But the ambulance service said that by arriving at 4.33pm it was only 15 minutes outside its target time of two hours.

Mrs Taylor's husband was in the N&N at the same time as his wife was taken in but did not get to see her before she died.

He said: 'We'd like an apology and the reason why she didn't get there for so long.'

The ambulance service said it had replied to a letter from the family's GP in November where it outlined the times it had been called and the time it expected to arrive at the house which was only just outside the target time of tow hours.

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