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Mother-of-two died ‘because ambulance didn’t get to her on time’, says family

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A FAMILY has been left grieving after a 40-year-old woman died on New Year’s Eve despite repeated attempts by her 15-year-old daughter to call medical assistance.

Mother-of-two Charlotte Burston knew that her health was rapidly deteriorating on Christmas morning when she began experiencing severe tingling sensations in one of her arms.

But despite repeated attempts to call urgent medical assistance, Charlotte’s daughter’s requests remained unanswered.

Charlotte Burston: Family say she died after an ambulance failed to reach her in time

Eventually, as Charlotte’s condition continued to deteriorate, another family member decided to drive to Charlotte’s property in Llanteg and convey her to Withybush General Hospital by car.  But shortly after commencing their journey, Charlotte Burston suffered a major heart attack from which she never gained consciousness. 

On New Year’s Eve, Charlotte Burston was pronounced dead.

A post mortem concluded that the cause of her death was hypoxic brain injury, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain. 

“If an ambulance had got to Charlotte within 15 minutes of Ella’s first call, she’d still be with us today,”said Vincent Laye, the father of Charlotte’s daughters.

“The pain and the grief that this has left us with is beyond explanation.

“Our girls have lost a mother who they relied on and who was their best friend, and the community around Llanteg has lost a woman who was greatly loved.  This was shown earlier this week when over 150 people turned out for her funeral.

“The bottom line is that the NHS has failed in providing the care that everyone pays for and that every one of us deserves.”

Charlotte began feeling unwell at around 7am on Christmas Day.

“I called 111 at 8.19am, the call lasted 53 seconds so I hung up because it was taking too long,” explained 15-year-old Ella Laye.

“I then called 999 at 8.29am and the call lasted 41 minutes.  The woman I spoke to refused to tell me how long an ambulance would take, but just said that one would be arranged.”

Realising that her mother’s condition was getting worse and worse, Ella then rang her grandfather, who lives in Clynderwen.

“He managed to drive over within around 20 minutes but by now Charlotte was drifting in and out of consciousness,” continued Vincent.

“He managed to get Charlotte into his car and began driving to Withybush.  But as they approached Robeston Wathen, he heard her make a gurgling sound and from then on, Charlotte never regained consciousness.”

When they reached Withybush, Charlotte was put onto a life-support system and conveyed to Morriston Hospital.  Sadly, she never recovered.

“Just because all this took place on Christmas Day, does it mean that people like Charlotte should be deprived of the medical care they deserve?” continued Vince Laye.

“Our girls have lost a mother who was with them and who cared for them 24/7.  Yes, their schools are doing everything they can to help them through this and we’re visiting the Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity, but absolutely no support is being shown to us by any other authority.

“All I can do is take things hour by hour because I truly believe that this awful death could have been prevented.  I really do.

“I don’t know the state of affairs in the NHS across Wales last Christmas morning but if they were severely understaffed through their own mismanagement, then someone has to be held accountable for Charlotte’s death.

“We’ve since discovered that the heart attack was caused by a blood clot that had moved to Charlotte’s heart, but we were also told that the damage this caused could have been treated with medication.    What took her life was the lack of oxygen to her brain…in other words, the length of time in which she was left untreated.  

“Charlotte has lost her life and the girls have lost their mother.  But this isn’t about the pain that we’re currently going through…this is going to continue for years.

“It’s about every other person out there who deserves to be looked after when they are most in need.

“The NHS and the local authority have failed us in a way that’s going to change our lives for ever, and I’m refusing to allow this to be brushed aside.  Somebody needs to be held accountable for what’s happened, to prevent this from happening to somebody else.”

Liam Williams, Executive Director of Quality and Nursing at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We were deeply sorry to hear about Ms Burston’s passing and would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to her family on their sad loss.

“A thorough investigation has begun, and we will be contacting Ms Burston’s family to invite them to participate in this process and share their experience, which no doubt will have been traumatic for all involved.

“On behalf of the Welsh Ambulance Service, I would once again like to extend my sympathies to Ms Burston’s family.”

Speaking about delays to patient care earlier this week, The Welsh Ambulance Service’s assistant director of operations Sonia Thompson said: “Our ambulance service is under extreme and well-documented pressure as a result of wider system pressures across the NHS.

“The service is looking at solutions as the current situation is untenable for patients and staff across health and social care.

“As an ambulance service, we’re thinking very differently about the way we deliver services in future, and we are already testing some new ways of working across Wales to understand how we can relieve some of the pressure,” she added.

The Welsh Government has said recently that despite budget pressures, it was investing in same-day emergency care, extra community beds and social care services to improve patient flow through hospitals.

Health

10-mile trek raises £1,000 for stroke unit

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A TEAM of 18 from CARA Wales took on a 10-mile trek and raised £1,000 for the Stroke Ward at Withybush Hospital.

The team from CARA Wales, an agricultural and rural consultancy and advice organisation, walked across the Preseli Mountains from Foel Drygan to Foel Eryr on 17th June 2023.

Mererid Sandbrook, who works for CARA Wales, said: “The walk started in Crymych and continued along the Golden Road up to Foel Eryr, the highest point of Preseli Mountain. It was a really enjoyable day.

“We were all really pleased to have raised such a great amount of money. We would like to thank everyone who donated money towards our challenge.”

They also raised £1,000 for Stroke Association.

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to CARA Wales for taking on the 10-mile trek in aid of the Stroke Ward.

“The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”

Your donations are making a positive difference to the health, wellbeing and experience of NHS patients, service users and staff. For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

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Charity

Calls for help over VHF radio may have been a hoax, say RNLI

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THE ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch on service at 10:23am this morning, Monday (July 22).

Following a call to the Coastguard from Milford Haven VTS, the crew were tasked after the VTS operators overheard a female voice calling for help on VHF channel 12.

After narrowing down the transmission to having been received on the Pembroke aerial site, the crew were requested to conduct a search.

Launching at 10:30am, the lifeboat made best speed to the moorings at Hazelbeach, and a hasty search was requested by the Coastguard of any moored vessels. The crew began making their way amongst the moorings, heading up to the moorings off Neyland. With nothing untoward sighted, the crew proceeded to search the moorings off Hobbs Point, Barnlake Point, Burton, Llanion and Rudders Boat Yard.

With nothing found, the Coastguard requested that the crew continue their search up river to Picton Point. The lifeboat continued searching up the western shore encompassing Llangwm before altering course just past Landshipping and searching the eastern shore back down the river, calling in to Lawrenny on the way to check any vessels moored there.

The RNLI said that the search continued back down as far as the Cleddau Bridge.

On Facebook the organisation posted :”Following a thorough visual, communications and radar search the crew were subsequently stood down when no further information or calls had been received.

“The tasking was therefore deemed to be a hoax call.

“The lifeboat was back alongside and readied for further service by 1pm.”

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Crime

Police investigating after man injured during altercation in cemetery

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POLICE have confirmed that they are investigating a report of an altercation which occurred in the cemetery off Gelliswick Road, Hakin, Milford Haven sometime between 4.30 and 5.00pm, Wednesday 17th July, 2024.

Following the incident, a 32-year-old man went to hospital for treatment and was later released.

A 19-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on bail pending further police enquiries police have confirmed.

The incident caught the attention of locals, who said there was a large police response to the incident included armed officers.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: 394 of the 17th

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org

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