Five-year-old Yusuf Mehmood Nazir died of pneumonia after being sent home, despite a doctor describing his tonsillitis as the worst he had ever seen.
Martin Clarke, 68, was taken to hospital by his family after waiting 45 minutes for an ambulance after suffering chest pains at home. He later died of a heart attack.
As nurses went on strike on Wednesday, the focus was on low pay, highlighting the extent of the crisis facing patients in Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS).
“We go to work every day as nurses, and we do our best, and our best is still not enough, and that’s because our workload continues to increase and our resources are stretched. are not matching,” Orla Dooley, an accident and emergency nurse, told AFP.
“This (strike) is about the mothers of people who are at home in the community who are having heart attacks and are not getting treatment because there is no ambulance to go to.
“It’s not about your dad’s cancer surgery, because he doesn’t have a bed to go to after the operation.
“And it’s about your granny dying by herself in a ward because there’s no nurse to hold her hand because there aren’t enough nurses. That’s all.”
The situation is being described as the worst crisis since the NHS was founded in 1948, focusing mainly on accident and emergency (A&E) but also including long waiting times for other appointments and treatments. Is.
According to NHS England, a record 54,532 people waited more than 12 hours after arriving at A&E in December.
The average wait for an ambulance for category two patients – those with a suspected stroke or heart attack – is more than 90 minutes. The target time is 18 minutes.
A&E doctor Waheed Arian told The Times this week that he once faced 14 ambulances outside his hospital in Coventry, central England.
“I had to open each ambulance and look inside and decide which patients could come in because we only had two beds,” he said.
“They were all suffering, they all should have had a bed. The NHS is under so much pressure that we are being asked to do things we shouldn’t be doing.”
In Rotherham, northern England, teenager Yusuf’s uncle, Zaheer Ahmad, said that when he requested to be admitted, he was told there were “no beds and not enough doctors”.
“They kept telling us, ‘We have a doctor, what do you want us to do? We don’t have any beds available,'” he told British media.
Clarke’s family in East Sussex, southern England, said he was a fit man but were left wondering if he could have survived if he had been treated sooner.
His widow Ann told the BBC: “The NHS is broken. “Everyone is afraid if they get sick, where can they turn? Something needs to change.”
Ambulance workers, who launched the first round of strike action in December and are expected to walk out again in the coming weeks, blame the situation on delayed admissions outside A&E.
The government attributes the difficulties to the impact of the pandemic, but the surge in excess deaths last year has also been partly blamed on a staffing crisis.
Whatever the reason, it’s no consolation to Matthew Simpson, whose wife, Teresa, 54, had diabetes and the muscle-wasting disease myotonic dystrophy. She died after waiting for help for about 17 hours.
Simpson, 47, from Hull in northern England, said she called emergency 999 after becoming confused.
The two fell asleep while waiting for paramedics, but when Simpson awoke, he found his wife lifeless.
Paramedics finally arrived as he tried to revive him.
“One hundred per cent I’m sure if they got to my wife in six hours she would still be here,” he told Sky News.
Darrell Wilson, 54, from Stockport, said nurses told him he would not have survived if his wife had not taken him to hospital herself.
He called an ambulance one night in October around 10:00 p.m. with shortness of breath and chest pains.
His wife Debbie called 999 eight more times during the night and finally took him to hospital just 20 minutes away the next morning.
Wilson said nurses told him he “wouldn’t be alive” if he had waited for an ambulance.