Ambulance on BBC One

Ambulance viewers ‘heartbroken’ as elderly man loses wife to brain seizure

He was left without any family

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Fans of BBC documentary series Ambulance were devastated last night (May 30) after watching a pensioner lose his wife and admit he has “no family” left.

Gordon called 999 and said his 82-year-old partner, Shirley, had taken ill and appeared to be gasping for air.

He told the call handler: “She’s sort of breathing in and it’s like she’s… her mouth’s full of something but she’s not being sick.”

Ambulance on BBC One
Paramedics initially thought it was a cardiac arrest (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Ambulance call handler breaks down in tears as she tries to save a life

Paramedics Jade and Johnny arrived at his house to help and Gordon fought back tears as he answered some questions and watched them treat his wife, who was lying on the floor next to the bed.

Shirley was foaming at the mouth and the paramedics thought she appeared to be having a brain seizure, rather than a cardiac arrest as initially thought.

Speaking in a voiceover as the scene unfolded, Jade explained that paramedics are trained to deal with what they see.

Ambulance on BBC One
Gordon and Shirley had been married for 44 years (Credit: BBC)

“We’re not trying to diagnose, I’ll just treat what I see and I think,” she said, adding: “I have no idea what’s going on with this patient. I’m just doing what I can.”

Shirley was taken out to the ambulance and Gordon, visibly distressed, went to hospital with her.

He revealed in the ambulance that he and Shirley don’t have anyone to turn to, sobbing to Jade: “We have no family and no relations.”

Once Gordon and Shirley were at the hospital, Jade reflected on the upsetting experience and said she felt “so helpless”.

Ambulance on BBC One
Gordon was calm as he spoke to the call handler, but broke down when the paramedics arrived (Credit: BBC)

Read more: 24 Hours in A&E: Viewers gagging over patient’s pus-filled finger

Speaking further, the emotional paramedic said she wasn’t able to speak to Gordon because she didn’t “think the outcome [was] going to be nice”, so she “can’t say ‘I hope she’ll be alright’.”

As the programme ended, viewers sadly learned that Shirley passed away with Gordon at her side just five days after filming.

Reacting on Twitter, one tearful viewer wrote: “Heart is breaking for Gordon. Hurts me to think about the elderly on their own with no family. Hope he’s being looked after. RIP Shirley. #Ambulance.”

Shirley passed away after filming (Credit: BBC)

Someone else tweeted: “So I just watched #Ambulance and cried my heart out at Gordon and Shirley. I’ll be Gordon’s family. Can’t bear the thought of him being alone.”

A third wrote: “#Ambulance bawling my eyes out at Gordon and Shirley! Just wanted to give him a cuddle. Such a tough watch but shows how our NHS does the best with their limited resources.”

Another commented: “Gordon and Shirley have finished me. Our paramedics are amazing. #Ambulance.”

A fifth said: “I’m still on the brink of tears hours later over Gordon losing Shirley. He’s got no family. It’s the thing with elderly men… makes my heart break.”

Elsewhere in the episode, a man was trapped under a tram after being run over between Manchester’s Pomona and Cornbrook stations.

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