A family have paid tribute to their father who died suddenly after he fell off a stretcher and didn’t respond to CPR.

Retired factory worker Donald, 64, had been suffering with a pain in his leg and was having difficulty breathing before he died on Wednesday, September 16.

His daughters, who managed to get him an appointment at Beggarwood Doctors’ Surgery on Tuesday, September 15, said they were told he had a suspected blood clot in his leg.

But while they waited for a follow-up appointment at his home in Ellisfield the following day, Donald’s condition worsened.

His daughter Krystle said: “He was in a lot of discomfort because of his leg. It was all red and swollen and his oxygen was dropping. I called an ambulance and they hooked him up to everything. His oxygen was initially 72 but shot back up, once on the machine. His heart was in atrial fibrillation and was going really crazy.

“They put him on a stretcher but during the transfer to the ambulance, he fell off. He was stuck on the floor and they had to call another ambulance to help. There was a lot of commotion. It was a very difficult job as it was a narrow hallway.

“I went outside to move out the way to give the paramedics some space. I could hear lots of faffing and I was looking up at the sky when I suddenly felt a coldness. I heard plastic being unwrapped and they had the defibrillation pads out. His heart had just stopped and they started doing CPR. It had failed. They only did it for 20 minutes but his heart had stopped. I couldn’t believe it. I was expecting him to be fine.”

Almost one week on from the tragedy, his daughters say they have been left in limbo and were unable to arrange a funeral because the surgery took nearly a week to prepare a file for the coroner.

Beggarwood Surgery has been contacted for comment.

Basingstoke Gazette: Donald with his granddaughter Donald with his granddaughter

Donald leaves behind his three daughters Natasha, 36, Krystle, 35, Alesha, 31, and five grandchildren Alex, Ashley, Naevia, Jeremiah and six-month-old granddaughter Leia.

Describing her father, his middle daughter Krystle said: “He was a family man. All he had were his daughters and grandchildren. He was a very private man. He had been hurt in the past and found it difficult to trust others and let other people in.”

Donald grew up in Tadley, living with his parents in Priors Road. He moved to Ellisfield in 2018.

“He has been a part of the Ellisfield community for the last couple of years. The vicar has been round a number of times. I felt at home after he moved here. It is in the middle of the countryside, right near the glider club. He loved that, you know men with their toys.

“His garden was always filled with birds. He had names for them all. There were boxes of bird feed all over the place,” she said.

The last few months for Donald had been extremely hard, Krystle said.

“Lockdown was difficult. He felt suffocated being inside but we were worried about him catching coronavirus because of his other health conditions. At one point, I was going round to deliver his shopping as we said we didn’t want him going out at all,” she said.

Donald had been medically retired in recent years but previously worked in a glue factory and worked as a mechanic.

Krystle said her father had no pre-existing heart conditions

Speaking of last Wednesday, she said: “It was the worst day of my life.

“It wasn’t expected at all. He had recently done a 10-day stint in hospital. He was really well looked after there. They were making him tea and toast at 4am in the morning.

“He was only out of hospital for two weeks. In the second week, his health started to deteriorate. He was put back on anti-biotics again. I said I couldn’t believe it, as he had only just left hospital. I worried they were just handing out anti-biotics without thinking about the root cause of the problem.

“On Friday, October 11, he was getting worse so I tried to book him in for an appointment at Beggarwood Surgery. We spoke to a nurse about his leg and they said it might be suspected DVT. He got increasingly worse over the weekend, my sister kept trying to get him a domiciliary visit, saying that he wasn’t well enough to come into the surgery.

“They didn’t have any available. We managed to get him there on the Tuesday and he was told he was waiting for an appointment for the DVT.”

But tragically, Donald’s condition worsened the following day when he died suddenly as paramedics tried to transfer him to an ambulance.

Krystle said the family have been left devastated by the news, which tragically comes almost one year since they lost their mum suddenly to undiagnosed cancer.

Krystle said: “I do feel his has been let down. I had to convince 111 to send an ambulance. I had to convince them to come.

“Last Wednesday was the worst day of my life. Twenty minutes seemed to go by in a blink of an eye to me.

“I’ve been relieving everything in my head. I’m aware that everyone tried their best but it just seemed there was no haste to me and it suddenly turned into a life and death situation very quickly. I don’t think that was clear to the medics.”

The sudden nature of Donald’s death has left the family not only devastated but facing the prospect of needing to find the funds to give him a deserved funeral.

Krystle said: “It comes with a heavy heart that I even had to create a fundraising page for something like this. This is not a usual set of circumstances. I am giver and to even be asking for help is such a hard thing for me.

“I hope people can be kind or scroll past. It’s just very difficult for us. My sister is on maternity leave and we’re a trying-to-make-ends-meet kind of family.

The average funeral cost in the UK is £3,946 for a cremation and £4,893 for a burial.

Writing on a GoFundMe page, Krystle wrote: “I was expecting he would make it through but then all of a sudden, he was gone and we didn’t get to say our goodbyes.

“My father was a kind, generous guy with a big heart but poor health had become his burden.

“This [page] is written from a very heavy heart as we lost our mum this time last year so please be kind or scroll past the post.

“My sisters and I would like any small amount to help with funeral expenses, we need to do this last thing for him to make him proud. Thank you.”

Already 20 people have donated £620 towards Donald’s funeral costs.

  • To donate, visit here