Man with meningitis died after five hour ambulance wait

Mthuthuzeli and Lisa Mpongwana
Image caption Lisa Mpongwana said it took two hours for a paramedic to arrive to treat her husband Mthuthuzeli

A Bristol man suffering from meningitis had a five-hour wait for an ambulance in the lead up to his death.

Mthuthuzeli Mpongwana died of the brain disease two days after being taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary on 5 January.

His wife Lisa said after calling the 111 medical advice line it took two hours for a paramedic to arrive and a further three hours for an ambulance.

South Western Ambulance Service extended their condolences and said an investigation has been launched.

It said the death occurred at an extremely busy time for the organisation.


Mrs Mpongwana, of Bedminster, released an image showing herself and her husband in hospital shortly before his life support machine was turned off.

She said: "It's disgusting. Maybe my husband would still be here with me today if they got there sooner.

"At the start he was awake and alert, but by the time the ambulance arrived he wasn't talking to me."

Sue Davie from the charity Meningitis Now said in cases where the disease is suspected "speed is absolutely of the essence".

"It's critical that people get urgent medial attention when people suspect meningitis."

In a statement, South Western Ambulance Service said it was "extremely sorry" for the delay and confirmed that an investigation has been launched.

Image caption Lisa Mpongwana had to make the decision to turn off her husband's Mthuthuzeli's life support machine two days after he was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary

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