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April 6, 2011

UK woman waited hours for nearby ambulance

By David Morton
Evening Chronicle

LONDON — A stranded woman suffered serious brain injuries after she waited nearly two hours for an ambulance which was waiting 100 metres away.

Caren Paterson's boyfriend dialled 999 three times after she fell in the bedroom of their London flat in October 2007. But ambulance staff were told not to enter the property in Islington without a police escort.

Officers from the Met had previously attended a flat in the premises and it was deemed "high risk". But the 33-year-old, originally from Warkworth, Northumberland, suffered a heart attack five minutes before emergency services arrived.

The London Ambulance Service has admitted a catalogue of errors that left the medical researcher with brain injuries. And now her family are fighting for a package that will help give her the long-term care she needs.

Her mum, Eleanor, who still lives in Warkworth with her husband Douglas, said: "The thought of an ambulance crew sitting waiting while my daughter lay in her flat as her condition went from serious to life-threatening, causing irreparable damage to her brain, is still shocking."

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We have accepted liability for the shortcomings in the care that was provided."

Copyright 2011 Newcastle Chronicle & Journal Ltd.

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