A mother who was forced to wait nearly six hours on a freezing pavement for an ambulance later died in hospital of a heart attack.
Donna Gilby left her flat just after 8am on Tuesday morning for a doctor’s appointment when she slipped and fractured her foot.
Now the 47-year-old’s family wants the world to see the photograph of her on the freezing pavement – face-down and unable to move – as her friends and neighbours rallied round, covering her with blankets and duvets to keep her warm.
They also called 999 for the mother-of-one, from Cwmaman, who suffered from an irregular heart beat and had two mini-strokes, and alerted her family who live nearby.
Donna Gilby stranded on the pavement outside her Cwmaman home as she waited around six hours for an ambulance, she is pictured above on the floor
Her father Gareth Gilby, 74, a former factory worker, said: ‘We then called the ambulance service and told them Donna was slipping in and out of consciousness – that must have been somewhere between 8 and 8.30am.’
‘The call handler told us they were dealing with ‘a heavy influx of calls’ and that they’d be with her ‘as soon as possible’.
‘When there was still no sign an hour later we called again – this time we were told they were ‘doing their best’ but that they ‘didn’t know when they would get to her’.
He adds that the ambulance finally arrived shortly before two o’clock and rushed his daughter to Prince Charles hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.
But, in the early hours of the morning, Donna suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away.
‘We still can’t really believe it,’ adds Gareth.
‘She was as good as gold and always put others before herself – she’d do anything for anyone.
‘As a result she put her own problems second, like the fact that she’d struggled with her weight and ill-health for years.’
Donna’s father Gareth Gilby (left) said they called an ambulance while his daughter was slipping in and out of consciousness on the pavement (right)
The steps (pictured above) which Donna is thought to have slipped on, causing her to fracture her foot. She was unable to move after the accident
The 47-year-old’s nephew James Perkins, a 28-year-old construction worker, says he had just been celebrating his own 13-month-old son coming out of intensive care at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant when he got the devastating news.
‘My boy had been touch-and-go with bronchiolitis, so I’d been showing my mates in work photos of him looking well again when I took the call about my auntie.
‘I just can’t believe it – it’s cruel. Her poor little girl. Every Christmas from now on is going to be a reminder of her losing her mum.
‘Thankfully this is a strong family unit and she’ll be well looked after, but I’m so sad for her.’
In a statement from the Welsh Ambulance Service, Chief Executive Jason Killens said: ‘We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Ms Gilby and would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to her family.
In the early hours of the morning Donna Gilby suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away. The Welsh Amubulance service apologised for its slow response
The ambulance service has since apologised for the slow response in its service which left Donna waiting at the bottom of her steps (above)
‘We are sorry that our response took longer than we would have liked on this occasion.
‘Our ambulance service exists to care for people, and our staff share the same upset and frustrations as patients and their loved ones at times like this.
‘Lengthy waits for an ambulance are a sign of pressures across the whole unscheduled care system, not just in Wales but across the UK.
‘An increase in high-priority ‘Red’ calls and significant hospital handover delays in particular are impacting on our ability to respond to 999 calls as quickly as we would like.
‘We are investigating Ms Gilby’s case and would invite her family to contact us directly to share their experience of what happened in order to inform that investigation.’
A spokeswoman for Cwm Taf Health Board said: ‘We are unable to comment on the details of individual cases, however we would like to offer our condolences to the family.
‘Should anyone have any concerns about any care and treatment provided, we would encourage them to get in touch with us.’