An Adelaide woman has come forward as another victim of South Australia’s ramping crisis, claiming she was ramped for hours while presenting with symptoms of a stroke.

Michelle Hatt, 52, experienced the symptoms in early January this year, with her partner calling an ambulance for her.

After being assessed and driven to the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Elizabeth Vale, Ms Hatt claimed she then waited two and a half hours to be admitted to the emergency department.

“I wasn’t presenting enough, apart from loss of [sensation in] my right arm, for them to go ‘yes, you’ve had a stroke’,” Ms Hatt said.

She then alleged she was not attended to until eight hours after her admission to the emergency department.

“There were 40 people in front of me so therefore I had to wait,” Ms Hatt said.

“I was sitting in the back of the ambulance for two and a half hours waiting for someone to go, ‘OK we can see you’.”

Ambulances spent 3,737 hours ramped outside South Australian hospitals in February.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

Ms Hatt had already experienced a stroke months earlier and was concerned at the lack of urgency in her care due to her history.

She believed she should have immediately been admitted to the emergency ward and blamed a shortage of staff for her treatment.

“I was very annoyed, but again being a patient, you don’t have much of a voice, you don’t get heard when you’re there,” she said.

“You’re just a number because there’s no staff.”

Ms Hatt, who had previously been diagnosed with cervical cancer and Graves’ disease, said she was concerned the medical staff were not taking her case seriously.

“As a mother, you worry you’re going to lose your life, you’re going to leave your children behind, all because nobody’s listening,” Ms Hatt said.

“There’s no staff, nobody to listen to you.”

Last month, the ABC revealed 91 patients triaged as priority 1 and 2 cases died while waiting for delayed ambulances since April 2022.

One of these patients was Hectorville man Eddie, who died after waiting 10 hours for an ambulance to arrive.

In response, the state government has repeatedly pointed to improvements in ambulance response times, which has seen a 24 per cent increase in target times achieved for priority 1 cases — which means an ambulance should arrive within eight minutes.

Ms Hatt said she wants to see the pressures alleviated for those working in the state’s hospitals.

“I would like to see more staff put into our hospitals, more training for our staff, and to be able to keep them there.”

In a statement from SA Health, a spokesperson apologised to Ms Hatt and her family for the delay she experienced at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, citing a high demand with many very sick people needing care on that date.

“Ms Hatt was triaged as a Priority 2 case by SAAS who responded within 13 minutes of the call-out, well within the 16-minute target for Priority 2 cases,” the statement read.

“Upon arrival at Lyell McEwin Hospital, Ms Hatt was triaged as category 3 and had a delay in transfer of care to our ED of 66 minutes.”

The statement said Ms Hatt had six sets of observations completed by nursing staff while waiting to be seen by a medical officer.

“The assessment by ambulance and emergency staff and a CT conducted did not identify a stroke at that time – which was later identified by a subsequent MRI two days later,” the statement read.

It added people presenting to EDs were prioritised according to their clinical needs, with those requiring the most urgent care seen first.

A drop in ramping hours in February

The state opposition has slammed the incident, once again accusing the government of breaking an election promise.

Peter Malinauskas’s Labor government was elected in 2022, with a major policy to fix the ramping crisis.

Opposition leader David Speirs says it was unacceptable for Ms Hatt to be ramped while presenting with symptoms of a stroke.

“We know that people get ramped for longer than two and half hours, but with a stroke, you should not be ramped at all, because this is life and death,” Mr Speirs said.

Last week, new data showed ambulances spent 3,757 hours ramped in February — 203 hours less than January.

Ashton Hurn wants more health staff to be employed in South Australia.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

But the opposition leader said the number still contributed to the worst ramping the state has ever seen.

“It is a consequence of a health system that it ultimately on its knees.”

The opposition’s health spokesperson Ashton Hurn has called on the government to find new ways to attract frontline health workers to the state.

“We need incentives on the table to attract and retain doctors and nurses,” Ms Hurn said.

“Because if you have more doctors and nurses that means that people like Michelle can only be assessed in a timely manner, but hopefully they can be treated in a timely manner.”

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