Sunderland man died of sepsis after 14 hour ambulance delay, inquest hears

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A man died after waiting for more than 14 hours for an ambulance, an inquest heard.

Michael Brown, from Sunderland, who had leukaemia, died of sepsis following the lengthy delay.

An inquest into his death has ruled the delays "contributed and exacerbated" his final hours.

It is understood he lived just two and a half miles away from the hospital where he was eventually taken after a delay of more than 14 hours.

The inquest was told a consultant urologist believed the 67-year-old would have had a greater than 50% chance of survival if he had got there sooner.

On the night he called an ambulance, Mr Brown had developed complications with a catheter. He first called for an ambulance at 1:24am on 10 January 2023.

Michael Brown waited for more than 14 hours for an ambulance to take him to hospital. Credit: Family

Over the next 12 hours, the North East Ambulance Service called back six times, but an ambulance did not arrive until 3:39pm - a total of 14 hours and 15 minutes after the initial call.

Following a two-day inquest at Sunderland City Hall, coroner Karen Welsh delivered a narrative verdict in which she ruled Mr Brown died from natural causes contributed to and exacerbated by delays in securing earlier attendance at hospital and treatment.

Expressing her own sympathy and condolences, the coroner added Mr Brown's family do not have the comfort of knowing that all that could have been done was done.

Stephen Segasby, chief operating officer at the NEAS said: "Clearly we don't want to respond to patients in the timescales that we did to Mr Brown.

"We are really, sincerely sorry for the delays we had on the day we responded to Michael's request for help."

Mr Segasby said on the day, the service was under "significant pressure" due to multiple delays with hospitals and excessive demand.

He added: "There's been significant improvements in the handover delay and responses to patients since that time. Our response times.

"We are now achieving a much better response to those category of calls. We have additional resourcing, working with the ICB partners and our acute colleagues in terms of reducing the handover delays."

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