Firefighters help former Rugby nurse suffering heart attack get to hospital after ambulance delay

The woman praised firefighters for their help

Rugby's fire station. Photo: Google Streetview.

A former nurse from Rugby has praised firefighters who helped her get to hospital after she had been left waiting 90 minutes for an ambulance.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, worked in the NHS for much of her life and made clear that she does not blame 'superhuman' paramedics for the delay.

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Around two weeks ago, the woman's kitchen flooded and, unable to turn the water off and in a panic, she dialled 999 and the fire service responded.

Firefighters quickly got the situation under control ready for a plumber to come and fix the underlying cause.

But in the meantime the woman started experiencing severe chest pains and, being medically trained, she realised the symptoms required emergency treatment.

She called for an ambulance and her son rushed over to be with her.

But 90 minutes after the call an ambulance had still not arrived.

In an increasingly desperate situation, the firefighters said they would escort the son's car to Coventry hospital.

The woman's friend, who was given permission to speak to the Advertiser on her behalf, said: "On arrival at Coventry hospital there was a backlog of ambulances waiting to offload their patents, so our friend had to wait to be seen.

"Having delivered their charge our heroes the fire team returned back to base in Rugby - presumably thinking the were only doing their job.

"Our friend was eventually seen and indeed was having a heart attack and was then admitted for treatment.

"After a few days she thankfully was discharged for recovery at home so a massive thanks to the struggling, overworked hospital but an even bigger thanks to our Rugby fire station who remained giving care and comfort then taking decisive action even though they had dealt with the original call out.

"This story is in no way complaining about the ambulance service who are doing their superhuman utmost with the constraints given them by WMAS and presumably lack of funding from central government.

"All this is real stuff unfortunately falling an deaf ears. This is just one real world example of the need for a fully functioning St Cross and a return of our ambulance station."

Last year there was strong feeling among residents when West Midlands Ambulance Service opted to remove the final ambulance stationed at St Cross.

In a service already blighted by delays, many became concerned that the decision would only worsen the situation.

At the time, sources told the Advertiser that they believed the decision would result in preventable death.

But WMAS argued that there are already ambulances driving around in Rugby, and that the removal of the St Cross station would make no difference.

They also attributed the delays to handover times at hospitals - whereby ambulances are left sitting in queues as they wait for hospitals to admit patients.