Widow posts photo of 'soulmate' husband after waiting five hours for ambulance to arrive

Lisa Mpongawana rang NHS 111 at 11pm but an ambulance did not arrive for her husband, who later died of meningitis, until after 4am

Rose Troup Buchanan
Tuesday 20 January 2015 12:32 GMT
Lisa Mpongawana and husband Mthuthuzeli Mpongwana in hospital
Lisa Mpongawana and husband Mthuthuzeli Mpongwana in hospital (GoFundMe)

A young widow who lost her “soulmate” after ambulances took five hours to respond to emergency calls has posted a picture of her husband in the final hours of his life.

Lisa Mpongawana, 27, who lost her father last year, claims her husband Mthuthuzeli would still be alive had the ambulance arrived sooner.

Mr Mpongwana, 38, deteriorated rapidly on 5 January. His wife says she noticed her husband’s sensitivity to light, often a sign of the onset of meningitis, and rang NHS choices 111 line at around 11pm.

At 1.30am a man arrived to help the couple. He then rang an ambulance for Mr Mpongwana.

The ambulance took a further four hours to arrive, eventually reaching the couple at 4.30am, by which time Mr Mpongwana was completely unresponsive, according to Mrs Mpongwana.

Two days after being admitted to hospital Mrs Mpongwana made the decision to switch off his life support machine. It was confirmed he had died of meningitis of the brain.

She told the Bristol Post: "At the beginning my husband was talking and asking questions, by the time they arrived he was completely unresponsive."

"My husband was my soulmate and best friend who stood by me throughout my highs and my lows,” she added.

NHS 111 service was recently embroiled in controversy after it was revealed the advisors were sending too many people to A&E, causing huge overcrowding.

South West Ambulance Service have apologised for the delay. In a statement to The Independent, they said: “South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust received a call from the NHS 111 service in Bristol at approximately 11pm to attend a male patient suffering from a headache and fever, within 30 minutes.

“A paramedic in a car was dispatched and arrived at the scene at approximately 1.18am.

“The patient was treated by the ambulance crews before being transported to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

“The trust is extremely sorry for the delay in getting to the patient during what was a very busy time and can confirm that a full investigation has begun.

“We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and would urge them to get in touch so that information can be provided to them directly.”

Mrs Mpongawana has now set up a GoFundMe account to help her pay for the costs of her husband's funeral. You can donate here.

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