A HEAVILY pregnant Retford mum-to-be lost her baby after waiting almost an hour for an ambulance.
Sarah Gould was 29 weeks and five days pregnant with her third child on 8th May when she fell ill after dropping her two daughters off at school.
When she started to bleed heavily the 21-year-old sought help from staff at Hallcroft Children’s Centre, where she was due to see midwives later that day.
But when worried staff couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, they dialled 999 and called for an ambulance.
“They kept checking for a heartbeat and couldn’t find anything,” said Sarah.
“After about five minutes they decided to call for an ambulance.”
But despite Sarah being able to see the ambulance station from where she lay, she says it took around 20 minutes for help to arrive.
National guidelines say that paramedics should be on the scene within eight minutes.
And when help did finally arrive, instead of an ambulance it was a first responder.
“He radioed through to find out where the ambulance was,” continued Sarah.
“But they said they were at Junction 32 of the M1 in Sheffield. The first responder said he didn’t even know why they sent him because there was nothing he could do.”
“We waited and waited and just before the ambulance crew arrived we thought we had found the heartbeat. I got in and was taken to hospital.”
On arrival at hospital a distraught Sarah and her partner Garry Day, 29, were told that their unborn daughter, named Jessica, had died.
The couple believe that budget cuts are responsible for an ambulance taking so long to get to them.
“It took them 50 minutes to get to me. We have had no explanation about why it took them so long,” said Sarah.
“Nobody seems to want to take responsibility for what has happened. They are trying to squirm their way out of it.”
“They have offered their condolences, but that just isn’t going to cut it.”
“When you phone for an ambulance, you expect it to be there quickly, like it used to be.”
And the grieving mum is in no doubt that her daughter would have survived if crews had been quicker.
“I believe 100 per cent that Jessica would be alive if they had got to us sooner,” she said.
“You have got 30 minutes to deliver a baby that is in distress by Caesarean section.”
“If they had arrived within the eight minutes that could have happened.”
The brave couple hope that by highlighting their case, they can prevent another family going through the same tragedy.
“I was 10-weeks away from giving birth. We had everything ready,” she added.
“We have just felt lost for the last month. We have to carry on because of our other two daughters, but we feel empty.”
East Midlands Ambulance Service says their records show it took 15 minutes for the first responder to arrive and 34 minutes for the ambulance.
Phil Milligan, East Midlands Ambulance Service chief executive said: ”We are sorry to hear of the sad loss of Ms Gould’s baby and offer our sincere condolences.”
“We received a call from the midwife who was with Ms Gould and had a fast response vehicle on scene with a fully trained paramedic within 15 minutes.”
“This was backed up by an ambulance which arrived shortly after to take Ms Gould to hospital for further assessment.”
“Given the information that we had at that time, we consider this to be an appropriate response.”