Seriously injured assault victim waited FOUR hours in ambulance outside Lister

Myra Coutinho-Lopez

Myra Coutinho-Lopez died on December 16 at Lister Hospital. - Credit: Herts police

The family of a Welwyn Garden City woman who died after an assault are shocked by how long it took for their mother to be treated by the ambulance service and Lister Hospital.

Myra Coutinho-Lopez, 82, died in Lister Hospital on Thursday, December 16, 2021, having been taken there 10 days earlier when she was attacked in Lloyds Bank, Howardsgate.

She suffered from a fractured hip and arm and was having breathing difficulties. Her injuries were treated as grievous bodily harm.

However, Myra's son Miles was shocked to learn how long it took his mother to reach the hospital.

Paramedics were called at 2.56pm after the assault, but a crew from the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) first arrived at the scene an hour later, around 3.59pm. 

The crew requested back-up and an ambulance arrived at 4.21pm, only to wait a further four hours outside Lister Hospital, according to her son, before Myra was admitted. 

"There seems to be a meltdown on the emergency services," Miles said. "I don't blame the NHS or the ER team but if this is happening every night - the three-hour wait because ambulances are all queued up at the hospital ER - this seems like a recipe for disaster."

Read more: Tributes paid to 'truly unique' woman who died after Welwyn Garden City assault

A spokesperson for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Coutinho-Lopez’s family and invite them to contact us directly if they would like to discuss her care.”

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An EEAS spokesman said: “We would like to pass our sincere condolences to Mrs Coutinho-Lopez’s family for their loss and invite them to contact us directly if they would like to discuss her care with us. 

“Demand for our services has been very high for several weeks with NHS staff dealing with high numbers of life-threatening ambulance call-outs in December.

"Staff sickness and handover delays at hospitals are also having an impact on our ability to reach patients as quickly as we would like."

A 24-year-old woman from Welwyn Garden City, who was arrested on suspicion of assault, remains on bail until Friday, February 4.