A MUM-to-be died after vainly waiting for an ambulance when the victim of a wasp sting was given greater priority, an inquest heard.
Gail Bailey (36) of Sopewell Road, Kimberworth, suffered an ectopic pregnancy while on holiday in Ingoldmells, Lincolnshire, with her husband Ryan in August last year.
The couple (pictured) had to wait two-and-a-half hours for medical help after Mr Bailey’s first 999 call, and Mrs Bailey was pronounced dead after a 25-mile journey to Boston Pilgrim Hospital.
A hearing in Lincoln on Monday was told that the East Midlands Ambulance Service was short of ambulances and the Baileys’ call had been “downgraded” in favour of the insect-related injury.
The Lincoln Coroner, Mr Paul Smith, was told by Anna Kennedy, who manages and evaulates 999 calls at EMAS, that the service was at a "high capacity call status" on August 17 last year, which meant there were more calls coming in than there were ambulances available, but added that this was a common situation.
Evidence was also given by Gary Maynard, dispatch officer at EMAS, and Susan Jevons, who was the on-call tactical commander and gave a triage assessment to Mrs Bailey on the day she died.
EMAS were down to two ambulances that day, the hearing was told — one to be dispatched from Skegness and another from Louth — so available crews for emergency calls were already stretched.
It was explained how Ms Kennedy, Ms Jevons and Mr Maynard were dealing with two 999 calls at the same time.
One related to Mrs Bailey, who was nine weeks’ pregnant and suffering abdominal pain, and the other, which came in moments later, to a patient who had a wasp sting in their throat.
Despite the later call being graded lower in priority to Mrs Bailey’s, there were concerns that the condition of the other patient may deteriorate quickly, so the decision was made to priortise an ambulance to that call.
Mrs Bailey’s case was downgraded and only returned to its original status after Mr Bailey made a second 999 call to report that his wife’s condition had worsened.
Mr Bailey (37), who has waited 16 months for the inquest into his wife’s death, said he recalled the worry he had felt for his wife and the frustration of having to wait so long for the ambulance to arrive.
He told how his head was “in a spin” and how he couldn’t believe that his wife was “fine one minute” and then he was having to identify her body the next.
Mr Bailey said his wife would still be here today, if not for the decisions made on the day she died.
The inquest is due to conclude today (Tuesday), with Mr Smith saying a narrative verdict was likely.