A WOMAN from Co. Donegal is reported to have died after an ambulance took over an hour to reach her home, which was less than a mile away from hospital.
Margaret Callaghan, 71, who passed away in January 2018, was released from Letterkenny University Hospital and was taken back to her home at Bracken Lea at Mountaintop in Letterkenny, just down the road.
However, later that day she suffered from serious abdominal pains, and her family phoned for an ambulance.
According to the Irish Mirror, a pre-evidential inquest hearing at Letterkenny’s Coroner’s Court heard how it took the ambulance about 60 minutes to get to Margaret's home.
The mother-of-eight passed away later that day.
It's reported that during the inquest hearing on Wednesday, Coroner Dr Denis McCauley spoke of how there was an “offload delay” at Letterkenny University Hospital which led to the hour-long delay in getting an ambulance to Mrs Callaghan.
He explained how ambulance protocol means that vehicles can sometimes be tied up by complications with other patients. For example, the vehicle in which a patient arrived at hospital in cannot go back out into operation until said patient is safely and securely admitted to hospital.
On the date in question, January 9, 2018, there were two ambulances stationed at Letterkenny University Hospital's A&E department.
Both ambulances were reportedly delayed by complications with patients, with one delayed by six hours and the other delayed by three hours, outside the hospital.