HR Strange But True!
January 11, 2007

London authorities are investigating the case of a heart attack victim who died after waiting more than 20 minutes for an ambulance, all because the two nearest ambulance crews were on 30-minute breaks that could not be interrupted under European Union (EU) rules.

The 73-year-old victim suffered the heart attack on New Year's Eve in a downtown betting parlor. A paramedic arrived within minutes and immediately called for an ambulance. The two nearest ambulance crews -- both 5 minutes away, according to -- could not respond because they were on their EU-mandated breaks.

Under rules mandated by the European Working Time Directive, adopted in December, ambulance crews working shifts between 6 and 10 hours are allocated a rest break of 30 minutes and cannot be sent out on 999 calls -- the UK equivalent to 911 calls - during that period, the website reported.

An ambulance was dispatched from a neighboring community but the crew did not reach the victim for more than 20 minutes. The man died on the way to the hospital.

Eyewitness Sheldon Trevatt called the situation "disgusting," reported. "The man worked all his life paying his national insurance. If that ambulance had been there earlier, I think his life would have been saved."


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