Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

Fireworks stop medic saving life

Ambulance
The paramedic was forced to take cover in his ambulance

The husband of a woman who died after a paramedic was prevented from treating her by youths throwing fireworks has spoken about his family's ordeal.

Fred Jones, 77, of Midlothian, said he did not want anyone else to suffer following the attack which stopped his wife Winifred Jones, 57, being helped.

A gang of youths threw fireworks at the medic's head, forcing him to take cover in his ambulance outside her home.

The Penicuik woman reportedly stopped breathing before he could get to her.

The heart attack victim died three days later.

The paramedic was forced to wait for back-up from police, but finally risked his own safety and ran to the house where the woman lay.

I want to make sure people think twice before they attack ambulance crews and remember they're risking someone's life
Fred Jones

Her family believe she might still be alive if she had got help sooner, and condemned the youths.

Mr Jones told The Sun: "I want to make sure people think twice before they attack ambulance crews and remember they're risking someone's life.

"I don't want anyone else to suffer as we have."

The mother of three collapsed at her home in Penicuik, Midlothian, in January.

Her family called NHS24, which sent a paramedic response unit to the scene.

Before he arrived, her condition worsened so her family dialled 999 to call for an ambulance.

A family friend then noticed the paramedic parked in the street outside and ran out to ask why he was waiting.

The paramedic said he had been hit on the head by a firework, but rushed into the house to help when he was told Mrs Jones had stopped breathing.

'Operational procedures'

Police and a second ambulance arrived at the scene soon afterwards.

Mrs Jones was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary but died three days later.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "In the early hours of 24 January 2009 a paramedic response unit responded to an emergency in Woodside Drive in Penicuik.

"On arrival, the paramedic was prevented from leaving his vehicle for some time by a number of youths who threw missiles and fireworks at him.

"In fear of his own safety, and in line with operational procedures, the paramedic requested police assistance.

"The safety of ambulance crews is paramount and our staff are instructed to wait for assistance if they are at risk of harm.

"It is difficult to understand why anyone would want to threaten ambulance staff, who are there to help people.

"In this case, the actions of a minority of hooligans delayed our ability to treat a patient."

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