Family slams EMAS over death tragedy

Wanting answers: Lee Cobb with his young son Harvey (3). Photo: John Aron
Wanting answers: Lee Cobb with his young son Harvey (3). Photo: John Aron

Devastated relatives of a man who died on a town centre pavement are demanding answers from East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Peter Cox, of East Street, collapsed and died outside the Red Lion public house in Horncastle last Saturday morning, despite frantic efforts by his family and members of the public to save his life.

It is claimed EMAS took more than 40 minutes to alert local first aid responders - by which time Mr Cox had died.

Family members and eyewitnesses say it was an hour after Mr Cox collapsed before an ambulance arrived.

In an emotional interview Mr Cox’s nephew, Lee Cobb, told the News that an animal would have received better treatment.

He said delays in treating his uncle were “diabolical and disgusting.”

He is planning to make an official complaint to EMAS.

Mr Cobb, of Linden Road, said he was told by first aid responders that his uncle could still be alive - if they had been alerted earlier.

He was backed by mother and daughter Jenny Chamberlain and Nicola Ashley who were at the scene.

They rang 999 but revealed their call was accidentally cut off by an EMAS operator.

Mr Cobb claimed an EMAS operator put his calls on hold - and did not answer others.

He says the first call to the emergency services was made at 11,24am when Mr Cox was still alive.

The News has been told that a 999 call had been made minutes earlier.

Mr Cobb claims it was 11.56am when first aid responders based at Horncastle Fire Station were finally alerted.

They arrived within six minutes but Mr Cox had died.

Mr Cobb was full of praise for the responders but hit out at EMAS.

He said: “I am absolutely disgusted.

“If they’d answered the first calls properly, my uncle would still be alive.

“He didn’t deserve to die like that. Animals would get better treatment. We want answers.”

Mr Cobb was at home when he received a telephone call, telling him his uncle had collapsed.

The call came from Mr Cox’s niece, Angela, who was walking passed the Red Lion, soon after her uncle collapsed.

Mr Cobb rushed to the scene and thought medical attention would arrive ‘within minutes.’

He added: “When I got there, my uncle was in a bad way.

“I held his hand and felt his pulse. He was still alive.

“I kept telling him help was on the way.

“There were loads of people around and I kept asking where the ambulance was.

“I admit I was shouting down the phone, trying to get someone on the other end to listen.

“I was telling them my uncle was dying and they just kept asking for personal details.

Mrs Chamberlain said: “People were in tears and it is disgusting it took EMAS so long. He (Mr Cox) was alive for quite a while and if he’d had proper help, he might still be alive now.”

Phil Milligan, East Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive said: “We received the first emergency 999 call at 11:29am.

“The caller reported a man to be shaking and unable to walk. The patient (Mr Cox) was not alert, but was conscious and breathing.

“The call was categorised as not immediately life-threatening and requiring an ambulance response within 30 minutes.

“An ambulance was dispatched and travelled to the scene where it arrived within 29 minutes of the first call being picked up.

“We received a further call at 11:46am to report a change in Mr Cox’s condition and that CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) was in progress.

“When someone is reported to be in cardiac arrest, we identify any local on-call co-responders and dispatch them to the scene.

“The training and equipment they have, such as an automated external defibrillator to provide an electric shock to the heart, allows for vital treatment to begin while the ambulance travels to the scene.

“The ambulance continued its journey because it was still the nearest available resource. “We also dispatched the nearest available fast response vehicle which arrived at 12:07pm.

“At 12:19pm, Mr Cox was confirmed as deceased and police were requested to attend the scene.

“This is clearly a distressing incident for all who were with Mr Cox at the time and for his family who have lost a loved one.

“We have not been contacted direct by the family but would, via their contact at the newspaper, like to express our sincere condolences. If the family would like to meet with someone from our service so we can respond to any questions that they may have, this can be set up at a time which is right for them.”