Man, 92, waited nearly 20 hours for an ambulance after suffering stroke at home

Lorenzo Gallo was left waiting for an ambulance for nearly 20 hours.

A 92-year-old man who suffered a stroke at his home in Cardiff had to wait nearly 20 hours for an ambulance.

Lorenzo Gallo called 999 at 1pm on Friday, December 11 after feeling unwell, it wasn't until 8:30am the following day that paramedics arrived at his house in St Mellons.

During that time Mr Gallo and his family claim they were told that the service was "overrun".

The former miner's son Tony, 57, said that the family had called an ambulance for his father on Thursday, the day before Lorenzo felt severely unwell.

"They examined him and got him settled, before asking us if we wanted him to go to hospital," he said.

"Now, not being a medical professional, I naturally thought, 'Well, if you're saying he's okay, then probably not'.

"But, had I known what would happen next, I dearly wish I'd told them 'yes'."

Tony and his brother Rudi arranged for a GP to visit Lorenzo at home on Friday and she advised that he be admitted to the University Hospital of Wales.

Health professionals have said that services are at "crisis point" across Wales.

He said that he asked if he should take his father to the hospital himself but he says he was told that he could be waiting for hours outside of the hospital.

Tony said it was almost another 12 hours before an ambulance that was able to take him to the hospital arrived.

Lorenzo's family said that they understood the pressure all health services were under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but that watching their father wait for an extended period of time was "not right".

"I totally understand the strain the health system is under because of Covid, but this just isn't right especially when speed is such a key element in dealing with someone who's had a stroke," Tony continued.

The Welsh Ambulance Service has said that it is under pressure.

"Dad has been lucky and has bounced back in the past. He's a fighter, but there's only so much he can do without help."It's sad because he's always gone out to of his way to help others."

Lorenzo was a miner at the time of the Aberfan disaster, even volunteering to help search for people in the aftermath.

Now though Lorenzo's family are preparing for him to be in hospital over Christmas.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said it is currently at its highest level of public demand, which is classified as being under 'extreme' pressure.

Director of operations Lee Brooks said: "We are sorry to hear about the Gallo family’s wait for help, which no doubt will have been distressing.

"Winter is our busiest time of year and we are facing high demand across Wales, with acute pressure in the South East as we manage increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases as well as seasonal pressures.

"We invite the Gallo family to contact us directly so that we can better understand their concerns and offer an explanation about our response."