Akshay Patel: ‘I watched my mum die while I pleaded for an hour for an ambulance to come’
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A mum from Greater Manchester shouted “I’m going to die” while she waited an hour for an ambulance that came too late to save her life.
Newly released tapes of the distressing 999 calls her son made shed light on Bina Patel’s tragic final moments as her son, Akshay Patel, 28, made six desperate calls to the emergency services for help.
Akshay, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, is first heard telling ambulance call handlers his 56-year-old mum is “struggling” to breath after she woke up screaming his name in the early hours of the morning.
In calls that follow, he describes how her situation is “critical” only to be told that he may have to wait “one and a half hours” for an ambulance as the service is “busy”.
He later says his mum’s mouth has “gone all-white” and pleads for immediate assistance but emergency service personnel just tell him that “help” is on its way.
And after Bina collapses and becomes unresponsive, her heartbroken son can be heard venting his fury that an ambulance didn’t arrive in time to save her.
He tells call handlers: “I rang an hour ago for an ambulance as she had difficulty breathing, and now she’s dead. She’s f*cking dead.
“My mum’s dead, thank you for the ambulance. Appreciate it.”
‘How can I clap for the NHS now? I can’t trust it’
Four months on, Akshay says he now hopes to meet with health secretary Sajid Javid to discuss how changes to the NHS could save more lives in the future.
He said: “The [ambulance] crew that came, the people that work for the organisation, they do an amazing job.
“But the overall structure, the way it’s been set up, and the way the money kind of trickles down is wrong.”
He added: “Once we were clapping for the NHS throughout Covid. Now, me personally, can I clap for it? Can I trust them? No, I can’t.”
Akshay, who had shared a home with his mum in Ashton-under-Lyne, said he realised she was unwell when she shouted for him at 2:15am on October 11, last year.
He said: “Obviously I woke up straight away, and I could see her having difficulty with her breathing. I ran downstairs, got her a glass of water and called ‘999’.”
When Akshay spoke to call handlers, he said his mother was “finding it difficult to breath” and had “flu like symptoms”, thinking an ambulance would be sent quickly.
But after 20 minutes passed without any sign of the emergency services, he called again only to be informed that the wait time might be “one and a half hours.”
In the background of his subsequent calls to the emergency services, his mum can sadly be heard shouting out: “Hurry up, I’m dying!”
‘I couldn’t get her to hospital’
Recalling the events of that terrible night, he said: “I looked at my mum, and I couldn’t tell her, “Mum, it’s going to be an hour and a half.”
“I tried my best to stand her up, to try and get her downstairs and into a car to take her to the hospital.
“She couldn’t stand up. She was falling back on the bed to the point where I was holding her upright to make sure she didn’t fall again.
“She was just panicking and panicking for help.”
He added: “The only way I can describe it is, imagine someone holding you underwater. There’s not much you can do.”
In later conversations with emergency call handlers, Akshay tells them his mum’s condition is “getting critical”.
At one point he says: “The patient’s mouth has gone all white. She’s probably going to die” but is told the ambulance service is “extremely busy” and experiencing “delays.”
Over the phone, he’s heard saying: “We logged a call half an hour ago. She can’t breathe at all.”
“She’s not been able to breath for the past hour. She’s struggling.”
The call handler responds “I’m organising that help for you now” but gives no indication as to the time when an ambulance will arrive.
Concerns about the calls
Following later investigations, Akshay said he now doesn’t believe that his first four calls were “taken seriously” by call handlers.
He said: “Between 2:31 am and 3:17 am, they just didn’t take the calls seriously, from what I’ve gathered.
“It was on the sixth call, when she stopped breathing – that’s when an ambulance was despatched.”
“Five minutes after that call, that’s when an ambulance came to the address.”
When paramedics finally arrived at 3.27am, almost an hour after Akshay’s initial call, they tried to revive the poor Bina, but their attempts sadly failed.
She had first suffered from a blockage in her heart, which caused a stroke and then a heart attack, a horrific series of events which Akshay had to heart-wrenchingly watch.
He said: “I witnessed the blockage when she was screaming and shouting.
“I witnessed the stroke when she was panicking, and I witnessed the heart attack when she fell on the floor.
“No one in the world should witness that.”
Akshay, who recently appeared on Good Morning Britain, now hopes to have a meeting with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who he wants to help him find those accountable for his mum’s death.
He said: “I’m going to make sure [Javid] listens to these calls, and he can tell me his thoughts on what he thinks about them.”
“I will tell him someone needs to be put accountable for her death.
“I want him to get those people to me, for them to give me a personal apology and tell me what they’re going to change.
A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We wish to pass on our deepest sympathies to Mr Patel and his family for the loss of his mother.
“We can confirm we have received an official complaint, and the investigation is ongoing. We are in contact with the family and will update them with our findings.”