Forest Lake Woman’s Death Sparks Ambulance Response Investigation

Photo credit: Queensland Ambulance Service/Facebook

A review has been launched into the death of Cath Groom, a 51-year-old Forest Lake resident who passed away overnight of a heart attack after allegedly waiting nearly two hours for an ambulance to arrive.

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Ms Groom reportedly dialed emergency services at around 10:26 p.m. on November 18, complaining of chest pains. Despite her case being designated urgent under a “code one” classification that stipulates a 15-minute response time, no ambulance came after repeated calls made over the span of 90 minutes.

Exhausted, Ms Groom eventually canceled her ambulance request shortly after midnight with intentions of going to the hospital the next day. Tragically, she was discovered unresponsive by her son the following morning around 9:30 a.m. on what would have been her 52nd birthday.

Queensland Ambulance Service Commissioner Craig Emery acknowledged deficiencies in the emergency response, stating that they “should have done better in this set of circumstances.” He noted that half of all area ambulances were backed up at hospitals that night, unable to unload patients in a timely manner.

An investigation into the delayed response has been initiated per Commissioner Emery. The Forest Lake community has expressed both grief at Ms Groom’s untimely passing as well as frustration with perceived failures in emergency services that may have prevented her death.

Whilst an investigation proceeds into the emergency response surrounding her death, friends and family emphasize that Cath Groom was more than a loving mother. She was also a vibrant community member, and an individual whose story touched many. 

Those close to her fondly recall her dedication to parenting, as she capably managed the responsibilities of raising a child on her own with remarkable resilience and kindness. Her passing leaves a void in many lives, especially that of the son she leaves behind.

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Though the grief remains fresh, many hope the legacy of Ms Groom’s death leads to positive change in the way emergency services are able to respond to those most in need.

Published 26-November-2023