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Monday 19 August 2019
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[UPDATED] WAITING IN VAIN

Pregnant woman dies after call for ambulance

PAINFUL LOSS: Anderson Graham, right, with his wife Jamila Jordon, who died last month after suffering a seizure. Graham is adamant his wife would be alive if an ambulance had responded sooner.
PAINFUL LOSS: Anderson Graham, right, with his wife Jamila Jordon, who died last month after suffering a seizure. Graham is adamant his wife would be alive if an ambulance had responded sooner.

KINNESHA GEORGE-HARRY

A Store Bay man has blamed what he considers to be the slow response of Tobago's ambulance service for the death of his common-law wife and their unborn child.

And he is calling on Secretary for Health, Wellness and Family Development Dr Agatha Carrington to address the issue as a matter of urgency.

Anderson Graham, 31, told Newsday his pregnant common-law wife of 13 years, Jamila Jordon, 35, died after waiting approximately 40 minutes for an ambulance to respond to her emergency.

“What should have happened, in my view, is a rapid-response paramedic should have been with us sooner. Jamila might still be with us. It is just unbelievable. How many people are going to lose their lives through this?”

The grieving Graham said he called the ambulance service on July 25, around 7am, as Jordan was having an epileptic seizure.

“She was in the bedroom talking to her family on the phone and she went into a seizure. I was in the living room nearby.

"During the call her relatives realised something wasn’t right and as they called my phone for me to go check on her, I saw her shaking up on the bed,” he recalled.

“I leaned her on the side, but her mouth was locked so I just leaned her on the side and called the ambulance.”

Graham said the operator told him no ambulance was available and he had to hold on. He said he called the service again ten minutes later and was told an ambulance was available in Plymouth and would be dispatched as soon as they had all the necessary information.

“This time the operator kept asking the same questions over and over: her name, her age, the address, (where) we were calling from and our telephone contact – over and over.

“This started to frustrate us because we kept on repeating the same information to this operator, who was providing no help. But as frustrated as we were, we tried to remain calm.

"What that information have to do with coming to us or even trying to get the ambulance here as fast as possible? All that long procedure could have been cut."

He said the operator insisted he had to follow the protocol before sending the ambulance.

But Graham said, “We made the call at 6.55. They came at 7.35, five minutes before she passed."He knew the time, he said, because he was using his phone to check Jordon's pulse.

"When they came, the guy like he didn’t even want to attend to her, he didn’t try no form of recovery, no oxygen, no nothing and we told them that she was four months pregnant...Before he even checked, he began arguing with us, not even trying to help. He left to go outside for a pump and came back close to five minutes later. It was like there was no urgency...He came and stood there looking on, passed his hand on her neck and then checked for pressure and then he told us that she had died.

"The first time he told us that she had died, he said it 'down in his belly,' that we had to ask him to repeat. We had to ask him about three times."

Graham said Jordan did not have a history of epilepsy but had her first seizure in June.

“In June when they came, they put on the oxygen on her and she was warded for three days...they did MRI and all those kinds of tests, but they couldn’t find anything, so they released her.

“This was her second seizure; she had no medical complications, but we would like to believe because of the pregnancy she began having these seizures.”

He said the disaster had left him feeling “bitter towards the system” and dissatisfied with the ambulance service.

“Jamila was alive. We tried so hard to get the ambulance service here early but these people, the health service…

"I really would like someone in authority to intervene, I wouldn’t like this to happen to anybody else and this is why I chose to highlight the problems we faced on that dreaded morning."

He wanted to know why a place as small as Tobago had to be "zoned" and why the Plymouth ambulance had to come to Bon Accord.

"So you trying to tell me there is no ambulance service closer to Bon-Accord than Plymouth?”

An autopsy last Wednesday at the Scarborough General Hospital showed Jordon choked to death.

She was buried last Saturday.

Graham said, “Now I am wifeless, and I blame it on negligence.

"Jamila and I were now enjoying the good times, I mean, she was four months pregnant, and it was something we both were looking forward to – our first child. Finally happened, it was something we planned. We don’t have control over the plans of the Creator, but as human beings, we would question it, thinking that it could have been prevented.

When contacted, CEO of the Tobago Regional Health Authority Sheldon Cyrus said he was not aware of the particular case, however he promised to investigate.

This story was originally published with the title "Slow ambulance response blamed for death" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.


A Store Bay man has blamed what he considers to be the slow response of Tobago's ambulance service for the death of his common-law wife.

And he is calling on Secretary for Health, Wellness and Family Development Dr Agatha Carrington to address the issue as a matter of urgency.

Anderson Graham, 31, told Newsday his common-law wife of 13 years, Jamila Jordon, 35, died after waiting for over an hour for an ambulance to take her to the Scarborough General Hospital.

The grieving Graham said he called the ambulance service on July 25, shortly after 6am, as Jordan was having an epileptic seizure.

“She was in the bedroom talking to her family on the phone and she went into a seizure. I was in the living room nearby.

"During the call her relatives realised something wasn’t right and as they called my phone for me to go check on her, I saw her shaking up on the bed,” he recalled.

“I leaned her on the side, but her mouth was locked so I just leaned her on the side and called the ambulance.”

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