Woman in labour taken to the hospital by bus driver after she waited over an hour for ambulance

An Ilford bus driver took a woman on the brink of birth to the hospital after waiting for an hour and a quarter for an ambulance to arrive on December 11.

Sajjad Shariff, 41, was driving the W15 down Grove Green Road, Leytonstone, when at 11pm he saw Fatim Faye, 44, waive him down.

She had just left her house on the same road.

“She was staggering towards the stop,” said Mr Shariff. “So I stopped early rather than drive past her.

“She came on and said ‘baby’ and ‘hospital’ and was breathing quickly and heavily.

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He quickly called “code red” which alerts CentreComm, TfL’s emergency control room, and requested and ambulance.

At this point a couple of nervous passengers left. “I guess it’s not everybody’s cup of tea,” said Mr Shariff.

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But one “good samaritan”, Bee Cole, 27, of Kingswood Road, Leytonstone, stayed to help.

She said: “It felt wrong to leave her, it was cold and it was not a very nice place to be about to have a baby.”

After half an hour there was no sign of the ambulance so he called code red again. He also called Miss Faye’s partner.

Deme Ndiogou, 51, who lives with Miss Faye, was working on the Strand but within 40 minutes he was by her side. Still there was no sign of an ambulance.

At 12.13am, Mr Shariff decided they could wait no longer. He drove them in the bus to the A&E at Whipps Cross Hospital just six bus stops away.

The receptionist ushered them through to a doctor but he couldn’t help as they didn’t have the facilities. They had to go to the maternity ward in the other block.

Back in the bus, Mr Shariff negotiated his way out of the ambulance bay he had parked in and went round the corner to maternity where she was rapidly attended to.

Mr Shariff said: “After that, me and Mrs Cole sat down and thought ‘what has been going on?’”

Miss Faye gave birth to a baby girl at 1.45am.

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said:

“The information initially given to our control room was that the patient was nine weeks pregnant.

“This was corrected during a second call at 11.20pm, when it was explained she was nine months pregnant. The patient’s condition had not changed at this stage and she was fully conscious and breathing normally and was not categorised as being in a life-threatening condition.

“We received a third call at 11.50pm from the bus driver, who was with the patient and confirmed that she was not having labour pains, but was feeling sick.

“Unfortunately we did not have an ambulance available to send and were cancelled at 12.18am. We would like to apologise for any upset this may have been caused.”

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