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Ambulance delay for seriously ill Forfar toddler left family fearing for her life

Kinsley with gran Karen.
Kinsley with gran Karen.

The grandmother of a seriously ill Forfar toddler said she feared her granddaughter would die after an ambulance delay.

Karen Kennedy called twice for an ambulance when her granddaughter, Kinsley McMillan, had a seizure but felt she had to drive her alone before help arrived.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said an emergency vehicle was sent but Karen and Kinsley had already set off for Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

A spokesperson said an investigation will be held and the family will be contacted directly.

‘So worried’

Kinsley, has a rare type of brain tumour and is blind. Her illness has been defined as terminal, but doctors are continually working to prolong her life.

The two-year-old’s family feared the worst when she had a serious seizure at her home just after 7am on April 27.

Her worried gran and mum, Eden Kennedy, called for an ambulance just before 7.30am.

But Karen, from Forfar, said her understanding during the call was no ambulance was available.

Kinsley McMillan, of Forfar, suffered a delay getting to hospital because no ambulance was available.

The family then contacted the hospital, where Kinsley’s doctor told them to call again for an ambulance.

Karen said: “We did this but again we understood that one wasn’t available.

“We were so worried about Kinsley that we didn’t want any delay and decided to drive her to hospital ourselves.”

The ambulance service spokesperson said the first call was cancelled after the family advised they would take Kinsley themselves.

During the second call, a high-priority red response was made and the ambulance arrived 23 minutes after the call, according to the spokesperson.

But Karen disputes this, saying she left for hospital after 40 minutes, believing the ambulance was not coming.

‘Horrific’ seizure

Describing the incident as the “worst day of her life”, Karen says she is furious and wants reassurance this will never happen again.

Karen said: “It was horrific.

“I dialled 999 for an ambulance but when I spoke to the operator I was told we wouldn’t get one.

“Kinsley is red-flagged, meaning that an ambulance has to be sent if we ask for one.”

Kinsley with mum, Eden Kennedy.

During the time Karen was on the phone to the emergency services Kinsley’s condition deteriorated.

“All the time Kinsley was having this dreadful seizure,” she said.

“Eventually we had to load her into my car so I could take her to hospital myself.

“I believed no ambulance would be coming in time and I just wanted to get her to hospital in case she required resuscitation.

“She was rigid, foaming at the mouth and going unconscious. I was absolutely terrified Kinsley was going to die.”


Karen added: “When I got to the hospital four doctors and Kinsley’s own clinician all rushed out to meet us.

“She was immediately given medication to stabilise her. She has made a recovery but I dread to think we would ever go through that again.

“I shouldn’t have had to drive Kinsley myself in this condition.

“It’s the most traumatising thing I have ever experienced and I never want to have to go through that again.”

Kinsley with her gran Karen Kennedy at a fundraising event in her name.

Kinsley was diagnosed in September 2020, when she was just five months old.

Since then, she has been through gruelling surgeries and chemotherapy.

In January she had an 11-hour operation to remove most of her brain tumour and almost died during surgery.

Kinsley following the 11-hour operation in January.

Without the operation, doctors said the brave tot may only live for two or three months.

Despite the surgery being successful Kinsley’s condition is still terminal.


A spokesperson for the Scottish Ambulance Service said it was the operator’s understanding that Karen would take Kinsley to hospital but an ambulance was sent during the second call.

They said: “This was obviously a really stressful situation and this must have been really worrying for the family and Kinsley.

“We are really sorry that the family feel let down and hope Kinsley is recovering well from her recent illness.

“We will be undertaking a more detailed investigation and will contact the family directly to discuss their concerns and explain the actions taken.”