A young farmer forced to drive his unresponsive baby boy to hospital after desperate calls to triple-0 went unanswered has recalled the ‘indescribable’ ordeal which almost ended in tragedy.
Ashley Walter and Tamika Franklin from country Victoria made the frantic call last week after their 15-month-old son Lawson suffered a seizure and became unresponsive.
Unable to get through to an operator, the couple decided to make the 12 minute drive to the nearest hospital in Kyabram after Lawson turned grey and stopped breathing.
The Girgarre couple were still on hold to 000 by the time they arrived at the hospital, where staff then called for an ambulance to transfer Lawson, who needed specialist care in Shepparton 40 kilometres away due to his breathing difficulties.
Victoria’s embattled emergency service will soon undergo long-overdue overhaul and rebranding after a series of failings and 12 recent deaths.
While Lawson luckily survived his ordeal, his parents have spoken out about the crisis in the hope no other family goes through their ordeal.
The couple dread the thought of what could happened had they waited for help.
‘At this stage, you can’t rely on the service, something needs to change.’
Ms Franklin was on the phone to triple-0 the whole time during the frantic drive to the hospital.
Three calls rang out before an operator answered and still wasn’t connected to a dispatcher by the time they arrived at hospital.
As the urgent care unit had already closed for the day, the family waited 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive to transport Lawson to Goulburn Valley Hospital in Shepparton.
A mobile intensive care specialist paramedic was called to meet the ambulance en route to help with Lawson’s breathing.
Lawson is almost back to his normal self and is expected to make full recovery,
‘It wasn’t great. We are just happy he is going to be OK and that something needs happen with the emergency services and the hospitals to make sure it doesn’t happen again,’ Mr Walter said.
‘Hopefully the government can understand what families and what people are going through to try and get more operators and more staff into hospitals and more ambulances on the road.’
Lawson’s ordeal left Today show co-host Allison Langdon furious.
‘It’s just not good enough in this country of ours that something like this happens and unfortunately, you’re not alone in this,’ she told the family.
‘Hopefully something comes of the overhaul and you can save other families from the same panic that you guys experienced.’
Lawson’s parents hopes no other family goes through the terrifying ordeal they had.
‘It something we don’t want anyone to have to do again,’ Mr Walter told the Herald Sun.
‘As young parents you don’t want to see kids in that sort of state at all.’
At least 12 Victorians have died while waiting for an ambulance in the last seven months, including Lydia Anseline, 14, who took her last breaths at home on Melbourne’s outskirts waiting for ambulance after she suffered an asthma attack.
The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) will be overhauled and rebranded as Triple Zero Victoria after a report led by ex-Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton was handed down.
The report found ‘continued and systematic underperformance’ within the service and all 20 recommendations have been accepted by the state government in principal.
‘I understand the pain, of course, that those who have lost loved ones endure … particularly when there may have been more that could have been done,’ Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes said.
Victorian Ambulance Union secretary Danny Hill said the Ashton report was long overdue.
‘It’s probably the first real reform for ESTA since its existence,’ he said.