• Monday, April 15, 2024


Birmingham family recounts how its member died waiting for ambulance

Iqbal Rahman complained of breathing difficulties on Christmas Eve but when an ambulance arrived more than an hour after the first 999 call, it was too late.

Ambulance respond to an Emergency in downtown

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A Birmingham family shared the anguish and trauma it went through as its beloved member died waiting for an ambulance in December last year.

Samina Rahman said desperate calls were made for ambulance service after her husband Iqbal, 58, complained of breathing difficulties on Christmas Eve.

When an ambulance finally arrived more than an hour after the first 999 call, it was too late. He died of heart failure.

Samina told shadow health secretary Wes Streeting how her dying husband had appeared to suggest it would be futile to expect an ambulance would arrive quickly.

“At the point when I’m (on the phone) saying ‘this is a real emergency, we need someone now’, he put his hand out as if to say ‘forget it, forget talking to them because nothing is going to happen, tend to me.’ Within minutes he was gone,” she told Streeting during a virtual meeting organised as part of BirminghamLive’s 999 Ambulances In Crisis campaign.

Iqbal’s case is one of 137 ‘Serious Incidents’ under investigation in the West Midlands in the past nine months linked to delayed response and West Midlands Ambulance Service apologised to the family over his death.

Samina and Iqbal’s daughter Minnie told the MP for Ilford North: “The fear that other people are going through this genuinely keeps me up at night.”

She said she could not bear the thought that her neighbour, friend or anyone “is going to feel the way we do… In our case my dad died, knowing he wasn’t going to get help.”

She said her father cared about everybody and hated making a fuss.

“On his last birthday, I asked what he wanted and he said ‘all I want is for you to be happy’. That’s the kind of person that he was,” Minnie, 34, said.

Streeting, who lauded the family’s courage, said such stories “are becoming depressingly familiar.”

“We cannot allow this to be normalised, or we as a general public to be less shocked,” he said, adding, “We should be shocked and outraged”.

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