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Cwmbran man wants answers following death of his mum, 74, following 15-hour ambulance wait

a woman holding an ice cream
Jean Appleby at Barry Island earlier this year (Photo: Steven Appleby)

A Cwmbran man wants answers from the health board and ambulance service following the death of his 74-year-old mum following a 15-hour wait for an ambulance.

Jean Appleby, lived in an adapted house in Fairwater. Following a fall at a local shopping centre she waited 15 hours for an ambulance and passed away the day after being taken to hospital.

Steven Appleby, her son, said his mum and family had experienced a tough few years following the death of his dad and brother: “She has been through a lot. She was getting on with life and got up every day, showered and out on her scooter. I used to check in every day. She was fine.”

He picked his mum up on Monday 7 August for a shopping trip: “I took her to St Dials shops like I do every day. People park where they want. I parked behind a car. She got out and must’ve rushed it a bit and went over on her knee. I picked her up. She was in pain saying ‘get me home’.” He took her home and sat her in her chair.

‘She hadn’t been to toilet’

“Her knee started to swell and she was in a lot of pain. I called 999 at 4.30pm and they said not to move her in any way shape or form and said it could be up to three hours for an ambulance. Three hours passed and she was in more pain. We rang through the evening and night. She hadn’t been to toilet. They suggested she go where she is. She’s a proud woman and was not going to do that.” By 7.30am on Tuesday morning she had been sat in the same chair for 15 hours and not been to toilet.

a woman holding an ice cream
Jean Appleby at Barry Island earlier this year (Photo: Steven Appleby)

Mr Appleby said: “The ambulance arrived and we followed to the Grange hospital. She was in a hell of a lot of pain. They wouldn’t take her to toilet until they got her leg in plaster.” An x-ray revealed a broken tibia.

“We were there throughout the day and she got worse. They were doing blood tests and advised us she was ‘do not resuscitate’.  She has a stent in her heart. This was a woman who carried on with her day-to-day life. The test came back and showed an infection but they didn’t know where. She passed the next morning (Wednesday 9 August), a little after 7.30am.”

‘Ischemic bowel obstruction’

He said the health board wanted to “close the file” and say his mum died from “underlying health conditions, natural causes”. The family were told that Mrs Appleby had ischemic bowel obstruction.

a woman eating fish and chips
Jean enjoying fish and chips at Barry Island (Photo: Steven Appleby)

“It was a horrific time. We know they’re under pressure. But they’re not taking any responsibility and not linking it to any of the 15 hours not being able to go to the toilet, and not linking it with her bowels. They are just putting it down to natural causes. They reckon she wouldn’t have survived the operation anyway. This is my big message, how many has this happened to? This is not me being bitter, something has got to be done. it’s going to keep going on and on.

“She was so pro-NHS, they let her down. If a first responder had come out, something could’ve been done. Mum was active every day. We would check on her every day. She was never going to win any races, but she wasn’t someone who was bed-ridden.”

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We are sorry to hear about these concerns raised by the family of Mrs Appleby and we would urge them to contact us directly so we can look into this matter and provide them with answers to any questions they may have regarding her hospital care.”

Welsh Ambulance Service

Jeff Morris, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Service, said “We are deeply sorry to hear about Mrs Appleby’s experience, and know how distressing it will have been for her and those around her as they waited for our help. We will always respond to the sickest patients first, which unfortunately means that any patient whose condition is not immediately life-threatening may wait longer for our help.

“We continue to work with partners across Wales, this includes the Local Health Boards and Welsh Government, to mitigate the wider pressures faced within the health system.

“We have received a complaint from Mrs Appleby’s family about our response and our most sincere condolences are with them at this time. Our Putting Things Right team are now liaising with her family and will ensure that a thorough investigation takes place.”

Jean Appleby’s funeral

Her funeral is at 2.30pm on Thursday 7 September at Langstone Vale Crematorium. The family said donations to Ty Hafan in her memory would be “greatly appreciated”.

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Cwmbran man wants answers following death of his mum, 74, following 15-hour ambulance wait