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Betty complained of ‘excruciating’ abdominal pain. Her ambulance never arrived


A South Australian family is calling for change after a grandmother with pancreatic cancer was left waiting for an ambulance for an hour.

Betty Dobson’s husband Stephen called for an ambulance in February 2023, when Betty complained of “excruciating abdominal pain”.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Devastated family demands answers over ambulance delay.

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However she was left waiting for an hour before being told there were no ambulances available.

Dobson was undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiation after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November 2022 and given just 18 months to live.

Stephen ended up driving Betty to the hospital, where she died the next day from a perforated bowel.

Now, the family is calling for more transparency from the state’s ambulance dispatching service.

“When dad rang for the ambulance, they should have said then I’m sorry, nothing’s available,” Dobson’s daughter Julie told 7NEWS.

“Instead, he had to watch the woman he loved more than anything on this earth suffering.

“I just don’t want this to happen to someone else.”

A South Australian family is calling for change after a grandmother with pancreatic cancer was left waiting for an ambulance for an hour.  Credit: 7NEWS

Opposition Leader David Speirs has slammed the state’s healthcare system, claiming the way Dodson was treated was not good enough.

“The health system wasn’t there to catch Betty at her most vulnerable,” he told 7NEWS.

But SA Ambulance Service CEO Rob Elliot said the current callback system was still the most effective way to find the location of an ambulance.

“In ambulance services we feel the safer option is to call people back, have a clinical discussion about their healthcare and provide them with excellent advice,” he told 7NEWS.



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