Patient dies after 55-mile journey

Click to follow
AN INVESTIGATION was under way last night after the death of a pensioner who had to be taken 55 miles to the nearest intensive care bed after suffering a heart attack at his home on Sunday.

Fred Crowther, 77, died less than an hour after being admitted to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Lancashire. Doctors tried to find a bed nearer his home in Bury, Greater Manchester, but they were all occupied. Eventually a vacant bed was found at Lancaster and he was taken there by ambulance. He is understood to have suffered a second heart attack on the way.

A North Western Regional Health Authority spokesman said last night: 'A doctor and nurse with intensive-care equipment accompanied Mr Crowther in the ambulance. Everything in terms of care that could be done for the patient was done. To all intents and purposes, he had the same level of treatment in the ambulance as . . . in an intensive-care unit.

'Our concern is that the hospital apparently had difficulty in finding an intensive-care bed - that is something we are looking into as a matter of urgency. It is unacceptable for someone to have to travel that distance to get to intensive care.'

Mr Crowther's widow was too upset to speak about her husband's death.

Last year three patients from Greater Manchester died after being driven 55 miles to a Blackpool hospital because of a shortage of intensive-care beds.