Woman dies after ambulance delayed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, 12:00am

The arrival at hospital of an elderly woman who collapsed at home was delayed yesterday because of the latest breakdown in a series of mechanical faults plaguing the city's ambulance fleet. The 86-year-old woman was confirmed dead shortly after her arrival at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

An ambulance was sent to pick up the woman at Tsui Chuk Garden, Wong Tai Sin, at 5.59pm, but it would not start. A replacement ambulance was sent and started the journey to Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 6.08pm. The woman, who suffered from high blood pressure, reached the hospital at 6.20pm and was later confirmed dead.

A Fire Services Department spokesman said the department had arranged the nearest available ambulance to take over.

It was the second breakdown reported yesterday. The other occurred at 12.46pm and resulted in a 20-minute delay in taking a man injured in a fall to Princess Margaret Hospital.

There were at least four breakdowns on Sunday.

The department has come under fire since a series of breakdowns in its ageing ambulance fleet came to light recently. On July 20, the delivery of a 60-year-old kidney patient to hospital was delayed by 10 minutes when he had to be transferred on route from a broken down ambulance. He later died in hospital.