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999 error as boy had deadly attack

Date published: 02 May 2014

A “TRAGIC mistake” by a 999 call handler led to a delay that resulted in a boy’s death in an asthma attack

Eight-year-old Clayton Barker collapsed at his grandmother’s house in Derker after a wheezing fit. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

An inquest heard his gran, Elaine, had phoned 999 at 7.17pm on March 14, 2013. An ambulance was dispatched from Ashton at 7.29pm and arrived in Keats Road at 7.40pm. Clayton got to hospital at 8.02pm and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards from an acute asthma attack.

The inquest, in Heywood, heard that the call handler had asked Elaine if Clayton was struggling to talk between breaths.

She said yes but the handler had written down no - and the result was the case wasn’t treated as an emergency. An ambulance could have been sent at 7.21pm and been with the family six minutes later.

Clayton’s mum Gemma Barker wiped away tears as she told the inquest her son seemed fine when she dropped him at his grandmother’s house after school.

Soon after she returned home to Crete Street, Hathershaw, her mothe called to tell her Clayton was wheezing.

Gemma rushed to Clayton, who ran out of the house gasping for breath before collapsing in her arms.

She said: “I was carrying him like a baby. His eyes just shut and he stopped breathing.”

Taxi driver Toqhir Hussain started CPR on the boy while Elaine dialled 999 again and the emergency was upgraded to red.

Angela Lee, acting service manager for the Greater Manchester ambulance control room told the inquest that at 7pm there was a backlog of 58 incidents to respond to. Ms Lee said the call handler had made a “one-off human error”.

The inquest has been adjourned until June. Speaking through her solicitor, Gemma said: “I simply want answers as to what happened, and why.”


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