Parents learn first responder was on their street when their baby died

Devastated parents learn first responder was on their street when their newborn baby stopped breathing and died but wasn’t summoned ‘because they might find cases involving children too traumatic’

  • Megan Thrupp, 25, and Kris Low, 30, lost their newborn baby Eva last year
  • They waited for an ambulance for 35 minutes when Eva stopped breathing
  • The couple later found out a first responder had been on their street at the time
  • They claim Scotland Ambulance Service won’t send responders to child cases 

Parents of a newborn baby that stopped breathing and died at home have learned that a first responder was on the same street as them at the time, but wasn’t called.

Megan Thrupp, 25, and partner Kris Low, 30, who were left waiting 35 minutes for help at their home in Anstruther, Fife, believe that earlier intervention could have saved the life of their 19-day-old baby Eva.

While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Megan attempted to perform CPR with the help of an ambulance call handler. 

After the incident, the couple were told that community lifesavers are not sent to cases involving children in case they find the death too traumatic.

Megan Thrupp, 25, and partner Kris Low, 30, (pictured) were left waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance after their newborn Eva stopped breathing at their home in Anstruther, Fife. They later learned that a community first responder was n the same street as them but had not been called for help

Megan and Kris are now calling for a change in policy to prevent other parents experiencing the pain of losing a child in the manner they have. 

First-time mother Megan said: ‘Our little girl lost her life and we will do all we can to make sure this does not happen to another family.

‘Paediatrics matter just as much as everyone else and it is unjust that she was not provided the same chance of survival as another would have been.’

The ambulance service has now said it is reviewing the role of a first responder, including whether they can attend paediatric cases.

Megan, who runs Coast Coffee with her mother Marianne Gatherum, was at home with her mother when Eva died on March 13 last year – with Kris away at work at a local fish shed. 

While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Megan attempted to perform CPR on Eva (pictured) with the help of an ambulance call handler. After the incident, the couple were told that community lifesavers are not sent to cases involving children in case they find the death too traumatic

Megan and her mother called an ambulance after becoming concerned about Eva’s breathing.

Megan said: ‘I panicked and ran towards my baby, who at this point had stopped breathing.

‘The emergency call handler calmly discussed the CPR procedure and told me to apply this to Eva.

‘My mother desperately waited for a first responder to appear as she could see the strain I was under.

‘They never appeared and after a long 35 minute wait an ambulance arrived and Eva was finally in the hands of the professionals.’

Who are community first responders? 

The Resuscitation Council (UK) states that a First Responder is “a person, trained as a minimum in basic life support and the use of a defibrillator, who attends a potentially life-threatening emergency.” 

These responders are local volunteer who agrees to undertake training in Basic Life Support.

This enables them to provide life saving treatment to those people within the community who are critically ill, in the first few minutes prior to the arrival of an ambulance. 

Community First Responders can provide the early CPR & Defibrillation but in order to complete the ‘Chain of Survival’ sequence and increase the patient’s chance of survival, Early Advanced Care or an Ambulance Response must also be dispatched to the incident. 

Normally, community first responders aren’t knowingly sent to:

  • Assaults or Incidents of a violent nature
  • Incidents in a Public house
  • Road Traffic Collisions
  • Children under the age of 16-years-old
  • Traumatic Injuries


She added: ‘The ambulance service think it’s too traumatic for first responders to attend children if there is a negative outcome.

‘I think it’s more traumatic for us, to be honest.

‘The woman who was on call in Anstruther that day said she would have come if she’d known.’

Megan and Kris are expecting their second baby – another girl – and hope for a breakthrough soon.

‘I would love to see a change in policy,’ said Megan. ‘I would hate for anyone else to go through this.’ 

After hearing about Megan and Kris’s story, North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie said: ‘I can only imagine how hard this has been for them and I can only hope this never happens to anyone else again.

‘I have met with and worked positively with the first responders in north east Fife, meeting with them last year to learn more about their work.

‘We must see a review of the responsibilities that first responders have, especially in rural areas like here in north east Fife, in order to make sure that this tragedy is never repeated.’

The Scottish Ambulance Service has said it will contact Megan and Kris directly to hear their story and offer support.

A spokesperson said: ‘This is a very tragic case and our deepest sympathies are with the family during this time.

‘We are limited in what we can say publicly due to patient confidentiality but the Scottish Ambulance Service is committed to developing our Community First Responders (CFRs), as they form an integral part of our response.

‘We are currently undertaking a review of the role of CFRs which includes considering the welfare and clinical safety of enabling CFRs to attend paediatric calls.’

Last year, a JustGiving page was set up to help raise money for the Maternity Unit, at Victoria Hospital, the Scottish Air Ambulance Charity and the Glasgow’s Children’s Hospital Charity in memory of Eva. 

An initial target of £260 was set in May last year, but now a total of £12,180 has been raised. 

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