Court hears ESTA delays may have cost Nick Panagiotopoulos his life

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Nick Panagiotopoulos, a loving father would likely still be alive if not for delays with the Victorian emergency call-taking service, the courts heard on Friday September 8.

An inquest is set to begin on December 11 into the death of Mr Panagiotopoulos to examine the management of triple-0 calls the day of his passing. The enquiry will also look into potential system improvements to avoid future tragedies, reported The Herald Sun.

Mr Panagiotopoulos, 47, first called called triple-zero at 12.34pm from his Preston home on October 16, 2021 as he felt unwell and sweaty. His wife Belinda rushed home and performed CPR on her husband, the father of three girls.

The family waited 16 minutes and five seconds for medical help to finally dispatch at 12:51pm, the courts heard. When the paramedics arrived it was 12.55pm. He was no longer breathing and had no pulse.

Paramedics noted he was in asystolic cardiac arrest and attempted to resuscitate his heart through intubation and the use of adrenaline.

At 1.40pm, Mr Panagiotopoulos died in front of his family and neighbours.

Read more: Victorian deputy premier says triple zero death of Nick Panagiotopoulos is ‘deeply upsetting’

Nick Panagiotopoulos. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald.

An inquest has been ordered into the death of Nick Panagiotopoulos, 47, who died of a heart attack in his Preston home on October 16, 2021.

Cardiologist Associate Professor Nicholas Cox submitted to the court, “If paramedics were in attendance prior to Nick’s cardiac arrest, his chance of survival would have been good.”

“Paramedics, had they witnessed Nick’s cardiac arrest, would have been able to commence CPR immediately, then assess and perform defibrillation within 1-2 minutes of loss of cardiac output. The likelihood of success of defibrillation in this situation would have been high,” the report read.

In 2021, during the height of the pandemic, a review of Victoria’s emergency ambulance call answer performance found unprecedented delays in ambulance call times.

Thirty-three people died from emergencies linked to triple-zero delays or lengthy ambulance waits, and due to flaws in the system.

In April 2021, a 32-year-old Caulfield woman was found dead in her home more than six hours after calling an ambulance.

Source: The Herald Sun

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