A NEWPORT woman waited in agony for an ambulance after she collapsed with a potentially-fatal ectopic pregnancy.

Ambulance trust bosses say Sarah Underwood, 23, and her husband Craig, waited 37 minutes after phoning 999 for an ambulance when she started suffering severe cramps on Monday.

The couple, from Barracks Wood, were visiting Mr Underwood’s grandfather’s grave when Mrs Underwood, who was eight weeks pregnant, say the drama began at 12.30pm and they eventually got to hospital at 1.50pm.

Mr Underwood, 24, said when his wife collapsed, he called NHS Direct who transferred him to the ambulance service, but after five minutes on hold, he phoned for an ambulance directly.

He said: “We’d been there about 20 minutes when a woman shouted over the fence to see if everything was OK. She threw a blanket over to me and asked if we needed help.”

When he turned round the Good Samaritan, who they only know as Melissa, was there trying to calm his wife down. She covered her with blankets and coats to make her comfortable.

They decided to get Mrs Underwood to the woman’s car, as she was screaming out in pain and feeling sick.

Mr Underwood said: “We put her into the car and as we were leaving, a rapid response vehicle arrived. As we got to A&E, they took her straight through for an emergency operation.”

Mrs Underwood had suffered an ectopic pregnancy and had a fallopian tube removed.

Doctors told the couple she could have died if she had not been treated when she was.

Mr Underwood said: “She’s OK now, but shocked at the ambulance service. She was on the ground for about an hour and it was freezing. We’re just so grateful to Melissa.

"My wife is very lucky she didn't die."

Mrs Underwood said: “I was just in so much pain and wanted to get to the hospital.

Melissa was brilliant. Words cannot really describe what she did for me. I’m glad I’m here and it’s sorted, but if it wasn’t for her I don’t know what would’ve happened.”

A Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust spokesman said they cannot comment on individual cases, but would look into the matter if the couple contacted the trust.

Yesterday, we reported how in November, no area in Gwent had met the 60 per cent target for 999 call to ambulances to be answered within eight minutes. 38.8 per cent met the target in Torfaen, and 53 per cent met the target in Newport.

  • Do you know Melissa? Call our newsdesk on 01633 777226.

Ectopic pregnancy can kill

Ectopic pregnancies occur when an embryo starts to grow outside the womb. The embryo can rupture the fallopian tube, leading to internal bleeding, which can be fatal for both mother and baby.

Early diagnosis is essential due to the life-threatening nature of the condition and doctors recommend terminating the pregnancy.