Widow's husband had 95% chance of survival if not for ambulance delays, investigation finds

Aaron Morris had recently learnt his wife Sam was expecting twins when he was seriously injured in a crash and later died in hospital. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A young widow has spoken of her pain after being told there's a 95% chance her husband would still be alive if the ambulance had got there earlier.

Aaron Morris, 31, was riding his motorcycle when he was involved in a crash on Priestburn Close, in Esh Winning, County Durham, on 1 July last year.

The father-of-three, who recently learnt his wife Sam Morris was expecting twins, was seriously injured and later died in hospital.

'His death was completely avoidable'

It took 49 minutes and 49 seconds for the North East Ambulance Service to arrive, despite more than six calls from members of the public and police on the scene.

North East Ambulance Service has now apologised, after an internal investigation revealed a host of failures in getting Aaron the critical care he needed.

Following the investigation, Ms Morris told ITV Tyne Tees: "To find his death was completely avoidable and knowing that now, I have to live with that for the rest of my life, and that's one of the most horrible things you can ever imagine."

  • Watch Julia Breen's report from 3 March

The North East Ambulance Service investigation found:

  • Ambulance took 49 minutes 49 seconds to arrive despite the target for 'second category injuries' being 18 minutes.

  • Police at scene and off-duty trauma nurse repeatedly called to say his condition was getting worse but this information was not taken on board.

  • An ambulance was not allocated to Aaron until 25 minutes after the first call.

  • Ambulance crew from third party company could not operate the sat-nav system and did not know the way to the nearest hospital when Aaron was in cardiac arrest - asking his wife for directions.

  • At least six calls were made from the scene - one from a police officer requesting an ambulance 'on the hurry up.'

  • Ambulance arrived at scene in Esh Winning at 1:21, redirected from route to RVI following Aaron's cardiac arrest, didn't reach Durham hospital until 2:14pm.

  • There were shortages of operational staff, and on the day in question they were 31 staff members down.

Chief operating officer, Stephen Segasby, said: "Firstly, I would like to offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Aaron’s loved ones. This was a tragic event.

"When concerns were raised with us about Aaron’s treatment we reported these as a serious incident and began an internal investigation into what had happened.

"We have now shared the outcome of the serious incident review with Aaron’s family. 

"There were a number of organisations involved in this case and we unreservedly apologise for not providing the response from our service that Aaron should have received.

"There are a number of actions arising from the review of this incident that we are committed to taking forward to improve the coordination of our response.  

"We will of course now cooperate fully with the coroner to provide all the information required to make their independent judgement and for that reason it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on the detail of this case until that process is concluded."

Ms Morris has said despite the failings, she holds no anger towards the ambulance trust or the NHS, praising the work they did when her twins were born.

She is just devastated that her sons Aaron and Ambrose are facing a life without their dad.

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