A MUM-OF-TWO tragically died in her son's arms after suddenly collapsing while waiting two hours on the phone for a GP appointment, it is reported.
Devastated relatives said Helena Maffei, 55, was trying to get an appointment for breathing difficulties when she collapsed at home in front of her 28-year-old son.
Helena Maffei, 55, died while on the phone to the GP
Helena and her husband Tony (right) ran a bakery business together for 35 years
Paramedics rushed to the family home in Kidderminster on Thursday and gave her CPR but they were unable to save her.
The popular baker had run the family business, Continental Bakery, for 35 years with her husband Tony and lived above the shop.
Helena's daughter, Gaetana Maffei, said her mum was feeling ill at home and was being held in a long phone queue to get through to Church Street Surgery when she suddenly collapsed and died.
Gaetana, 30, told Birmingham Live: “Mum had been having health anxieties and so was trying to get an appointment as she was feeling breathless, but was hanging on the phone from 8.30am to 10.15am trying to get through.
“Her phone battery died during the call and she had to ring back and get in line again.
“She got through, just as she collapsed and the receptionist was saying a doctor could call her back at 11.30am.
“My brother Giuseppe rang the ambulance and was giving her CPR and the paramedics did too when they arrived, but it was too late.
“It’s a real shock for the family. She passed away in my brother’s arms and it is just the saddest thing.”
Gaetana added: “My mum put all her trust in the doctors but there seems to be no urgency with them. The GP surgery put you on hold for ages and that feels useless. You wait and wait in phone queues to see a GP.
Paying tribute to her beloved mum, Gaetana said Helena was the “soul” of Kidderminster.
“She was the glue that held the family together. We just don’t know what to do now,” Gaetana said.
'HEART OF GOLD'
“Mum and dad did everything together and were still so in love, holding hands and being romantic.
“She was loved, everyone loved her and would beep their horns as they went passed the shop when she was sweeping up leaves.
“Mum was so kind-hearted. Within minutes of meeting her, you would feel as though you had known her for years, and by the time you left the shop, she’d know everything about you too.
“Kidderminster has lost a heart of gold.”
Speaking on behalf of the GP practice, a spokesperson from Wyre Forest Health Partnership said the surgery has “worked hard throughout the pandemic to offer an accessible service”.
In a statement, they said: “As is usual in General Practice we do not comment on individual patient cases, however we will always speak with patients, their families or representatives and investigate with them, where there are concerns or complaints. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.
“We have worked hard throughout the pandemic to offer an accessible service to our patients, and we have seen patients face to face throughout this time. We have recruited additional reception staff at the surgery, as well as offering a variety of ways for people to contact us to seek help.
“As General Practice is finding nationally, at the moment it is very, very busy and our phone message does advise that if patients feel they have a life-threatening medical emergency to hang up and dial 999.
“As we go into winter we would strongly urge all those who are eligible for the flu or third Covid immunisation when it falls due, to have them in order to help protect themselves against what will undoubtedly be a very difficult winter.”
Helena's daughter said her mum was the 'soul' of KidderminsterInternet Explorer Channel Network