YORKSHIRE ambulance chiefs have acted to reassure the public that patients are their highest priority after one of their defibrillators failed to work while treating a heart attack victim.

Process worker Donald Lawson, 73, suffered a cardiac arrest while a paramedic and ambulance technician were giving him treatment in an ambulance outside his home in Welborn Close, Tang Hall.

Immediate attempts to revive him failed when the defibrillator on the ambulance did not work properly and he died a few days later at York Hospital.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of Donald Lawson following his death in January 2008.

“Patients are our highest priority and, following the incident, the trust conducted a thorough review to address the issues raised in this case. We have learned valuable lessons, and we would like to reassure members of the public that the trust has since implemented more robust processes to effectively manage the maintenance and replacement of our medical equipment to ensure incidents of this nature are avoided in the future.

“In addition, we will carefully review the outcome of the inquest to see what further actions can be taken in the future as part of our continued commitment to provide the highest quality clinical care to patients.”

York coroner Donald Coverdale said he would write to the service about its systems for maintaining and replacing defibrillators at the end of the inquest into Mr Lawson’s death.