A CORONIAL inquest is being sought after two Bayswater residents were left alone and waiting more than four hours for an ambulance.
A 60-year-old man was found dead inside his house four hours after an emergency call was first made on Thursday, March 7.
The ambulance assigned to his case was diverted two hours after the first call was made to help an 80-year-old woman who had been lying on the floor of her home for four hours with a deep laceration.
Both were classified as code 2 cases, which according to government benchmarks should be attended to within 25 minutes.
Ambulance Employees Union state secretary Steve McGhie — who was alerted to the incidents by concerned paramedics — said he was shocked. "They were both failed by the ambulance service. Would that man still be alive if they had attended straightaway? That's the big question."
Opposition parliamentary secretary for health Wade Noonan is calling for a coroner's inquest into the incident, a move supported by Mr McGhie.
"The paramedics are under substantial pressure and were unable to cope with the level of demand at that time," Mr Noonan said. "The community deserves some answers from an independent organisation."
It is understood the 60-year-old man's granddaughter called an ambulance to the Bayswater house at 10.44pm. She told the operator the man had non-life-threatening head injuries and she requested a welfare check.
An ambulance was eventually dispatched from Dandenong at 12.12 on the Friday morning but was then diverted to the case involving the 80-year-old woman.
Another ambulance was dispatched to the man's home at 3.07am and arrived at the Bayswater address at 3.22am. Paramedics were not able enter the house but got permission from their duty manager to break into the home, where they found the dead man. The cause of death is unknown.
Mr McGhie believes an ambulance representative called the man at 11.30pm to tell him there was a delay.
At this time, it is understood the man told the operator that he had depression and may have been considering self-harm.
Mr McGhie said a police unit would normally be called at that stage but no police arrived at the man's house.
If there were concerns over self-harm, the case should have been classified as code 1, Mr McGhie said. He believes there were not enough ambulances available on the night.
The union is calling on Ambulance Victoria to pressure the state government to deliver more ambulance resources.
Ambulance Victoria metro east regional manager Cath Anderson said paramedics were saddened by the case and she extended their sympathy to the family. "We are reviewing the case and will meet with the family to provide them the outcome."
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