No paramedics sent after 17-year old suffers epileptic fit on city street

Dozens of passers by were left horrified after no emergency medical support was sent to a boy who suffered a 'major epileptic seizure' on the street.

Wednesday, 29th November 2017, 7:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:30 am
Despite being called no ambulance attended the scene.

Coleen Hanlin, 49, was walking to the bus stop on Great Junction Street, Leith, when a passing 17-year-old boy suddenly collapsed.

She said: “He was having a huge epileptic fit. He had bitten and then swallowed his own tongue, his eyes were at the back of his head.

“His knuckles were scraped and bleeding, he was hitting his head off the pavement. It was horrifying to watch.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Coleen Hanlin who ran to help a 17 year old boy having a epileptic fit on Great Junction Street this morning phoned an ambulance 4 times and they never showed up.

Coleen – who has experience handling epilepsy through her husband Alex who suffered from the disorder – explained what happened.

The bar manager said: “He was fitting for around two minutes and I put him on his side and kept talking to him and trying to clam him down.

“When he came round he was dazed and had no idea where he was.”

Coleen made a number of calls for an ambulance to attend the scene yesterday morning and was questioned over the boy’s condition and medical background.

Coleen Hanlin who ran to help a 17 year old boy having a epileptic fit on Great Junction Street this morning phoned an ambulance 4 times and they never showed up.

The boy told Coleen he had no previous history of epilepsy. He went into shock with his body changing colour, leaving members of the public, again, concerned for his safety.

Despite this, medical support did not arrive and instead, one hour later, a police officer attended the scene.

The Leith resident said: “I called an ambulance five times and others did for an hour after and no one came. Everyone was shocked and it is simply not acceptable. It was his first seizure and it was a very bad one.

“I am embarrassed for this poor soul. He couldn’t stand for half an hour and I eventually got him sat up and drinking some water.

“He was scared out of his mind and it was so difficult to watch.

“A police officer arrived an hour later and he didn’t look at him once. In the end some people in a work van ended up taking him to the Royal Infirmary.”

Coleen was shaken by the incident and believes the emergency services should have done more for the young man.

She said: “He had a lot of strangers around him and had just had a seizure so it is understandable. He needed medical attention but none arrived.

“I’m ashamed and absolutely disgusted with the way our emergency services have treated this boy. Nobody seemed to care at the services.

“I’ve been crying and really upset after this.”

Police Scotland confirmed an officer attended the scene oat therequest of the Scottish Ambulance Service regarding concern for an individual.

The Scottish Ambulance service told the Evening News that calls were made to the control centre but they were unable to attend the incident due to other higher priority calls.

The spokesman also said the call handlers had to end a number of conversations due to enduring abuse by members of the public.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We received a call at 10.44am yesterday to attend an incident on Great Junction Street.

“At the time of this call, local crews were attending to higher priority incidents, including patients with immediately life-threatening conditions.

“When our ambulance control centre tried to contact the 999 caller to ensure there had been no change in the patient’s condition, the call handler received abuse from a third party and had to end the call on more than one occasion.

“Police attended the incident and our crew was stood down.”