A YOUNG mother-to-be died from an asthma attack after waiting more than an hour for an ambulance and 90 minutes for an emergency airlift.
Aliesha Hayers, 17, died on February 29 at Southport.
Boyfriend Dale Williams, who was with her when she died, wanted to know why they had to wait so long for help for Aliesha and their unborn child, whom she had already named Victor after finding out the week before they were expecting a boy.
A helicopter was sent but it arrived after the road ambulance, and an hour and a half after the initial 000 call.
It was sent far too late, said Dale’s father, Paul Williams, a former ambulance and fire service volunteer.
“If it had been dispatched [straightaway], I believe she’d still be with us,” Mr Williams said.
“They send the chopper to Cradle Mountain for 50-year-old bushwalkers who have turned their ankles, yet we lose two lives.
“I’m just trying to save the next person. I don’t hold any malice against the ambulance service. I just wish the government would make it so everybody’s treated the same.”
Aliesha and Dale were living with Aliesha’s grandmother, Jennie Hayers.
Aliesha’s mother Bronwyn died in a car accident four years ago.
“The time we waited was just so long. But the people that worked on her, my cousin and a friend, they worked so hard. They’re two Aussie heroes,” Jennie Hayers said.
“We used to have an ambulance at Dover, that’s the most wicked part. The ambulance people and police who came were wonderful. But it’s a long way from Hobart.
“I loved her so much, she was a perfect angel.”
Ambulance Tasmania chief executive officer Dominic Morgan visited the family the day after Aliesha died.
“The tragedy has deeply distressed Ms Hayers’ family and the whole community, as well as the paramedics involved,” Mr Morgan said.
He said the 000 call was triaged as a medical emergency.
“The ambulance was sent from Hobart as ambulances from the Huonville and Kingston areas were attending other emergency calls. A subsequent call from Ms Hayers’ family indicated her condition was deteriorating,” Mr Morgan said.
“The rescue helicopter is normally only used for incidents that ambulances can’t reach by road. However, as soon as it became apparent this was now a life-threatening condition and following discussion with a clinician the helicopter paramedic was immediately activated and Search and Rescue contacted to mobilise the helicopter.”
A Huonville ambulance at Cygnet became free and was also sent.
“All three vehicles raced against time to reach Ms Hayers. The Hobart ambulance arrived first at the scene, 70 minutes after its dispatch, and paramedics worked hard to resuscitate Ms Hayers but were unable to do so.”
Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne said: “This is a terrible and tragic event and the family has my deepest sympathies.
“I have asked for a report from Ambulance Tasmania to confirm that the case was handled appropriately and the best and speediest possible treatment was provided.”
Paul Williams said Aliesha had lit up all their lives.
“She was all heart. She would have been such a fantastic mother,” he said.