Lydia Anseline was brimming with the typical excitement and expectations of a 14-year-old – dreaming of a career as a lawyer or a calisthenics star.
- An independent investigation has found that at least 33 people died after delays with Victoria’s emergency call system between December 2020 and May 2022
- Three grieving families remember their deceased loved ones
- They remember waiting for long periods of time to get their triple-0 calls answered
Instead, her father cradled her in his arms as she breathed her last.
“The last thing she said was ‘I love you dad’,” said Bernard Anseline.
Issue 33 has been making headlines and news reports this week.
That’s the number of families that Victoria’s triple-0 crisis has failed in the worst possible way since December 2020.
A damning report on the service, known as ESTA, has revealed that at least 33 people have died after experiencing delays in responding to their emergency calls, or in the time it took to that an ambulance be sent to their assistance.
There were 40 others who survived, but suffered damage after waiting too long.
The circumstances of the report’s release – on a Saturday morning – have drawn criticism, with the state opposition accusing the Victorian government of trying to hide the document ‘behind the AFL final’.
The numbers in the report only tell part of the story, behind them are real people who have died and grieving families.
By the time the ambulance arrived for Lydia it was too late
In Pakenham, in the southeast of Melbourne, Lydia’s parents are in mourning.
They mourn their outgoing and outspoken 14-year-old daughter and her beautiful smile.
They also mourn their three sons.
“They lost their sister, and they also lost their mum and dad, because we are not the same as before,” Mr Anseline said.
In April, Lydia had an asthma attack.
His parents called triple-0 and waited. And then called again.
“On the first phone call, if they knew there was no ambulance around, they could have told us and I would have brought my daughter to the hospital in 10 minutes,” he said. -he declares.
Lydia’s father said it took over half an hour for the ambulance to arrive. At that point, it was too late.
“She was an amazing girl,” Mr. Anseline said.
“We all try to keep ourselves happy and live with the memory, but there are days when everyone breaks down.
“I just have to be strong and keep going.”
Rachael “more than a number”
Strength is something Vanessa Byrnes tries to channel from her sister and for her sister.
Rachael Byrnes was 42, a musician, and committed to making the world a better place.
She cared about social justice and the environment.
On a video call to a friend overseas in January, it was clear something was wrong.
Fearing that Rachael was having a seizure, her friend immediately called her sister in Melbourne, who phoned triple-0 for help.
“Time stands still to some degree when something like this happens, but it felt really long and I just remember ringing and ringing,” Ms Byrnes said.
An ambulance eventually arrived, taking Rachael to hospital, where she died four days later.
“She was more than just a number, more than just one of those 33s,” Ms Byrnes said.
Rachael’s organs were donated.
“When someone dies unexpectedly like that, you can’t say goodbye,” she said.
“There are so many things you wish you could say to them, just to keep them coming back for an hour.”
Ms Byrnes wants her little sister to remember her life – the music she wrote, her thought and creativity, the cards she made for her nieces.
“I have to make sure that his death is not something that was for nothing,” she said.
“I just want this to never happen again and that what this report recommends is implemented and that no other family has to go through this.”
“The sweetest, kindest guy you’ll ever meet”
In January, Allan Fitzell collapsed in the shower of the trailer park shack where he lived with his girlfriend and boys.
His mother, Valerie Fitzell, said it took over six minutes for a call to triple-0 to connect.
“I’m angry,” Ms Fitzell said.
He died in hospital at the age of 52.
“I miss his calls,” she said.
“He would be the nicest, kindest guy you could ever meet.
“He loved to sing – he had a beautiful voice. With his children, he always made them laugh.”
Allan had suffered from health issues in the past, which meant he lost his job and his home.
“They had been through hell,” Ms Fitzell said.
Despite this, she said her son was “a funny bugger” who cared about taking care of his children and his partner, Selina Engelen.
“Maybe he could have been saved – I don’t know.”