Woman in tears as she couldn't get ambulance for her husband before he died
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Featured Image Credit: BBC/Ann Clark
A woman has spoken out about the heartbreak of watching her husband die after waiting almost an hour for an ambulance.
On 18 November last year, Martin Clark began suffering from severe chest pains. Here she is talking about the ordeal:
But despite three 999 calls, and a 45-minute wait, the 68-year-old's family had to drive him from their home in East Sussex to hospital themselves.
Sadly, when they arrived, the father-of-five suffered a heart attack and died.
Speaking about that devastating ordeal, wife Ann revealed that before Martin died, he wrote her a note as he cried in pain while they waited for help to come.
It read: "I don't think I'm going to make it. Love you."
Ann said his death could have been prevented.
"He was let down very badly," she told the BBC. "They should have come."
While she admitted that Martin had high blood pressure, she said that he was a fit and active man.
She said: "He didn't drink. He didn't smoke. He walked every day. That day, he was out there with a chainsaw, cutting the hedge.
"The NHS is broken. Everybody is scared if they get ill where can they turn. Something needs to change - there's going to be so many deaths because of this. It's terrible."
The South East Ambulance Service has now offered an apology to Ann and her family, and said that it was working to improve its service.
A spokesperson said: "We are very sorry we were unable to provide a timely response to Mr Clark. Our thoughts are with his family and we will look into this.
"We are working hard to respond to everyone who needs us as quickly as possible while our services remain under significant pressure."
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said cases such as this were incredibly upsetting.
She said: "The difference between life and death can be a matter of minutes when someone is having a heart attack or stroke.
"Extreme delays to emergency heart and stroke care cannot become a new normal.
"Healthcare staff are doing all they can - but there aren't enough of them and many will be working in difficult conditions without fit-for-purpose facilities.
"There are no easy solutions but there is a way out of this crisis - if the NHS gets the significant investment it needs to address the vast backlog of heart care.
"It's also vital that we get prevention back on track to stop heart attacks and strokes from happening in the first place."