A newborn baby died as her family waited desperately for first responders who never came.
Eva Low was just 19-days-old when she stopped breathing at her home in Anstruther.
As first-time mum Megan Thrupp attempted CPR with the help of an ambulance service call handler, she thought trained volunteers were on their way.
However, she and partner Kris Low later discovered the community lifesavers are not sent to cases involving children.
Tragically, there was a first responder on their street at the time of Eva’s death and the heartbroken couple believe their baby may have survived if she had been alerted.
They are now calling for a change in policy to prevent others from experiencing the devastation of losing a child.
I would hate for anyone else to go through this.”
Megan, 25, 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 First Responder Scheme is run by the Scottish Ambulance Service, particularly in areas where ambulances may take longer to arrive.
Trained volunteers provide early CPR or defibrillation in cases such as cardiac arrest or choking before paramedics arrive.
But they do not deal with traumatic injuries, traffic collisions or children.
The ambulance service said it is now reviewing the first responder role, including whether they can attend paediatric cases.
I would love to see a change in policy.”
Megan, who runs Coast Coffee in Anstruther with mum Marianne Gatherum, was at home with her mother when Eva died on March 13 last year.
Meanwhile, Kris, 30, was at work filleting fish at the local fish shed.
Megan and Marianne became concerned about Eva’s breathing and called an ambulance.
‘They never appeared’
“I panicked and ran towards my baby, who at this point had stopped breathing,” said Megan.
“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.”
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.”
I can only imagine how hard this has been for them.”
Willie Rennie MSP.
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.”
‘This is a very tragic case’
North East Fife Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie described Megan and Kris’s story as heartbreaking.
“I can only imagine how hard this has been for them and I can only hope this never happens to anyone else again,” he said.
“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.”
“We are currently undertaking a review of the role of CFRs.”
Scottish Ambulance Service.
The Scottish Ambulance Service said it will contact the family 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.”