Hornchurch dad who flatlined for eight minutes had been ‘refused’ ambulance

David Dreezer with his wife Claire and A&E sister Lucy Boito

David Dreezer with his wife Claire and A&E sister Lucy Boito - Credit: Archant

A young mum whose husband flatlined for eight minutes has slammed the London Ambulance Service for refusing to take him to hospital.

Claire Dreezer’s husband David woke up on Friday, March 15 with abdominal pain so bad he couldn’t walk.

Unknown to the pair, the 41-year-old had suffered a burst stomach ulcer, perforating his gut.

Claire phoned 999 that afternoon. “They told me it wasn’t something they would send an ambulance for,” she said, “even though David couldn’t walk because of the pain.

“The next morning he wasn’t any better so I took him to A&E.


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“While they were checking him over, he became non-responsive. They took him into the resuscitation unit – he’d gone into cardiac arrest. It was a total shock.” Horrified Claire, 34, spent eight minutes in a waiting room wondering what she was going to tell her three sons, aged six, 11 and 18, who had said goodbye to their dad just half an hour earlier.

“They told me I needed to prepare myself for the worst,” she said.

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David survived surgery but his organs began shutting down. He had blood poisoning and doctors reckoned he had a 10 to 20 per cent chance of survival.

Miraculously, he made it through the night, and went on to spend five weeks in intensive care. He’s been slowly recovering as an inpatient since.

Now Claire wants to say thank you to the medics at Queen’s who saved her husband’s life.

“It’s a miracle,” said the mortgage consultant, of Furness Way, Hornchurch.

“Doctors still look at him with amazement. They were so good in intensive care.

“One nurse, Lucy, was fantastic. She stayed with me the whole time downstairs and even came up to intensive care to check on David later.”

David has some short-term memory loss and muscle weakness, but remembers his family.

Claire wants to take her case to the health ombudsman after she said ambulance chiefs didn’t respond adequately to her complaint.

“I was told we were offered the chance to speak to a clinical advisor,” she said.

“When you’ve got pain so bad you can’t walk, you don’t want to speak to a clinical advisor – you want an ambulance.”

An LAS spokesman said: “It was established that Mr Dreezer had abdominal pains but was completely alert and breathing normally.

“Mrs Dreezer was advised to contact their GP, call 111 or take her husband to hospital.

“We offered to provide further clinical advice, but were told they would make their own way to hospital.

“We are sorry Mrs Dreezer is unhappy with the way her call was handled.”

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