A pensioner died in his home after waiting almost two days for an ambulance and with his GP telling 999 workers his life was at risk.
Gerard Brown, 65, fell at his home in Glasgow on September 6 but an ambulance did not reach him until over 40 hours later, by which point he had passed away.
Dad-of-three Mr Brown weighed only six stone, he had survived cancer and suffered from a number of health issues.
He died at his home and his family claim his body was still warm when paramedics got there shortly after 3am.
The former engineer was unable to get up to unlock his door in Dumbreck after falling, and was dangerously dehydrated as well as requiring oxygen treatment.
A concierge gained access to the property and called for an ambulance at 11am, with Mr Brown’s family told they faced a ten-hour wait.
The crisis was branded “third world” by his GP, Dr Patrick O’Neill, who had intervened to urge for it to be prioritised.
The ambulance is believed to have arrived at 3am on September 8, between 41 and 44 hours after it was first called, and found Mr Brown dead.
The grandfather-of-nine had been kept company by his ex-wife and one of his sons, but was alone when he died on the sofa.
The case has been referred to the Procurator Fiscal and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman with the Scottish Ambulance Service promising to “learn” from the tragedy.
Heartbroken son Dylan said: “They pronounced that he was only just dead because he still had warmth in his body.
“In this day and age, it should not be happening.
“I know with Covid people are busy and the NHS is struggling, but that’s unacceptable and we just don’t want it happening to another family.
“The worst thing about it is that Dr O’Neill said to me ‘Dylan, I can assure you that if they’d got to him your dad would still be here’.
“That’s the hardest part to accept.”
He added: “When people are telling you that person would have survived, the impact is shocking. There needs to be accountability for the decision.
“I’m not hoping for answers, I’m hoping this doesn’t happen to someone else. I know my dad would be happy with that.”
Dylan said that his partner had gone round to the house and discovered Mr Brown in trouble.
“My partner went up to drop off some messages, she was communicating through the letterbox and he was saying he couldn’t get up and get to the door,” he said.
“The concierge managed to get a joiner who came out and got the door open. The concierge helped dad onto the sofa, apparently he had some cuts from the fall.
“My mum was with him for some of the time, she called his GP who said to call the ambulance service and tell them it was critical.
“My brother was up there Tuesday night saying ‘he doesn’t look good’.”
He said: “My brother was the last to be up there, he went to help dad get comfortable. Dad ended up sleeping on the couch, it was impossible to get him comfortable because he was so fragile.
“My brother left him at about midnight on Tuesday – dad said he felt cold so my mum said she’d bring him some blankets. He said don’t worry and he’d try to sleep and see her tomorrow the door was left open for the paramedics.”
Dr O’Neill said he was first made aware of Mr Brown’s condition by his ex-wife on Monday morning, after she telephoned the practice to let them know that the family were waiting for an ambulance.
He said: “Then at 9am on Tuesday we get a phone call from his ex-wife to say ‘listen, he’s still in the house’.
“I was like ‘you are kidding me?’.
“I got on the phone to the ambulance service at 9.15am and I said ‘this man is going to be found dead’ – and I used that language, because I knew the situation he was in.
“It’s happening across the board and it’s not their fault – it’s shortages – but you assume when you put in a 999 call that these people are going to be picked up.”
In a statement, the Crown Office confirmed that the Procurator Fiscal has received a report “in connection with the death of a 65-year-old man on September 8 2021 in Glasgow”.
It added: “The investigation into the death, under the direction of Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU), is ongoing and the family will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) said: “We have started an investigation into the circumstances relating to the delay in reaching Mr Brown and will be in contact with Mr Brown’s family directly to apologise for the delay in response and pass on our sincere condolences.
“We are really sorry for their loss and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“All findings and lessons learned will be shared with Mr Brown’s family as part of the investigation process.”