'It could have been different' - Man whose son died after waiting 45 minutes for ambulance

Alex Helps (17) was struck by a car in June last year and sustained severe head injuries
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.10 30 Nov 2023

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'It could have been different'...

'It could have been different' - Man whose son died after waiting 45 minutes for ambulance

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.10 30 Nov 2023

Share this article

The father of a 17-year-old boy who was knocked down and killed near his home has said he believes things may have turned out differently if an ambulance arrived sooner.

Alex Helps sustained severe head injuries after he was struck by a car in Kildare last June.

His father Graham Helps told Newstalk Breakfast an ambulance took 45 minutes to arrive.


"To all intents and purposes Alex was brain dead, they believe, at the side of the road," he said.

"There were people with him - there were nurses who gave up their time - they stopped at the side of the road.

"Alex had fantastic care, and they've even said had they had the correct equipment they feel things may have turned out differently for Alex".

'It might have been better'

Mr Helps said he believes the ambulance delays come down to a lack of resources.

"If equipment had been with the [nurses] for Alex, it might not have been better for us but it might have been better to help somebody else," he said.

"In fact, we were probably lucky... the waiting time can be up to two hours.

"That's just not right".

'His organs weren't viable'

Mr Helps said the family wanted to donate his organs but were told it was too late.

Knowing Alex's character, [we asked ourselves] what he would want to do, would he be happy to donate his organs - and it was instantaneous yes," he said.

"They couldn't give us Alex back, but equally Alex could go on to help somebody else and in effect carry on living.

"Apparently due to the lack of oxygen, the time that it took to get the treatment for him, the organs weren't viable.

"We were told the only thing that could have been saved for Alex was his heart.

"I think the hospital, given what we've been through [and] given the procedure they would have had to have gone through, it would have too invasive and maybe upsetting for us".

'A fantastic boy'

Mr Helps said his son loved to meet new people.

"As any parent's going to say about their own child, but he's a fantastic boy," he said.

"He had a fantastic group of friends, most of them he'd known since... he started in junior school.

"When Alex turned 17, I managed to get him a job with two of the catering firms I worked for."

Mr Helps said he and Alex worked with him at the Aviva Stadium, among other places.

"Alex enjoyed the atmosphere and the buzz of the matches and to mix with the customers at the races," he said.

"He enjoyed looking after people, serving people.

"Alex is a great conversationalist, he loved to meet new people," he added.

Mr Helps said he fears other people might lose their son or daughter in the future if something isn't done to improve ambulance response times.

Main image: Graham and Alex Helps. Image: Supplied

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