Paramedic died weeks after saving drunk patient who ran into three lanes of traffic, inquest hears

A long-serving West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic died after saving a drunk patient who had run into three lanes of traffic, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Lightbody, who's 53-years-old and from Bewdley, partially ruptured his Achilles tendon when looking after a patient during his night shift in Evesham on March 10 last year.

The incident left him immobile in a cast for two weeks, with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and a fatal pulmonary embolism - or blood clot in his lungs.

A jury heard how there was just a four in a 1,000 chance of him dying from a pulmonary embolism while recovering and on blood thinning drug Clexane to help prevent DVT.

A verdict was reached and found there was accidental death father who had served for West Midlands Ambulance Service for over 31 years.

At the inquest, Mr Lightbody's colleague Lorretta Young described how he was injured after difficulty with an inebriated patient who ran across three lanes of traffic in Evesham.

Andrew collecting an award for his work as a paramedic Credit: BPM media

Mr Lightbody's partner, A&E nurse Emma Hill, said: "Andy texted me from his nightshift in March saying he had run after a patient and helped save him from the traffic but hurt his Achilles doing it.

"Andy didn't let anything phase him and finished his shift before going to the Minor Injuries Unit in the morning.

"He was on crutches and then at the fracture clinic where his leg was put in plaster."

Ms Hill explained how she vigilantly checked for signs of DVT as a pulmonary embolism was "her worst nightmare".

During the inquest, a jury heard how when Mr Lightbody fell critically ill at home during the first lockdown in April last year, a 999 call to West Midlands Ambulance Service by his partner Ms Hill was wrongly graded as a less urgent Category 2 call-out rather than the most serious Category 1.

While a Category 1 has a response time of between 7 and 15 minutes, a less urgent Category 2 has a target response of between 18 and 40 minutes.

The call handler said he had missed information as he was "having problems with his headset".

The crew arrived at Mr Lightbody's home 28 minutes after the call came in on April 19 last year but the patient suffered a cardiac arrest as paramedics were putting him in the ambulance.

West Midlands Ambulance Service Credit: ITV News Central

He was later confirmed dead at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The coroner said a West Midlands Ambulance Service investigation had been "clear that this call should have been a category 1, instead the call handler took up too much time asking about who was calling rather than if Mr Lightbody was breathing".

Emergency Medicine Consultant at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Ian Levett, told the court that even if the ambulance had got to Mr Lightbody in 7 minutes - the target time for a category 1 call - it would have made no difference to the tragic outcome.

He said the time of Mr Lightbody's cardiac arrest was before he would have reached the hospital and guidance is not to give thrombolytic drug treatment to patients who have had a cardiac arrest before they arrive at A&E.

Victoria Wharton, clinical commander for control rooms at West Midlands Ambulance Service, said when Mr Lightbody fell ill during the lockdown, it was "incredibly busy" with "unprecedented demand".

She said: "We haven't seen much reprieve since, it's exceptionally busy".

Mr Lightbody's partner, who he had been with for seven years, described the paramedic as "amazing" and recalled blowing each other kisses shortly before his face turned purple and he went in and out of consciousness.

"We had so many plans, like plans to walk up mountains around the country," said Ms Hill.

"He was incredible. His sudden and unexpected death has broken so many hearts."

Worcestershire Senior Coroner David Reid concluded the inquest by saying to the family and Ms Hill: "I offer my sincere condolences for your loss.

"Anyone listening to the evidence couldn't fail to be moved by the account you gave, particularly what you had to go through that evening when Andrew collapsed.

"There is certainly nothing more you could have done for Andrew."