Asthma families’ ambo plea
Lives could have been saved during a deadly thunderstorm asthma event in Melbourne if people had been given accurate ambulance arrival times, victims’ families say.
Seven men and three women died during or soon after the storm hit Melbourne on November 21, 2016. A combination of high pollen levels, strong winds, hot temperatures, air moisture and a cold front triggered severe asthma attacks and an unprecedented surge in demand for ambulances.
Relatives of electrical fitter Priyantha Peiris said better estimated ambulance arrival times could have saved lives.
The 57-year-old man died at the Northern Hospital in Epping on November 29, eight days after the storm hit the city. His wife could have taken him to the nearest doctor, just two minutes away, if she had been given accurate information, family said, but instead waited for an ambulance.
The comments came as Coroner Paresa Spanos said she accepted changes had been made to ambulance scripts for times of high demand, but more could be done. She also called for more research into the meteorological, biological and aerobiological factors that caused thunderstorm asthma.