A man claims he was told to finish his shift as an Amazon delivery after suffering symptoms that later turned out to be a heart attack. Dad-of-two Neil Martin experienced chest pains, dizziness and cold sweats while behind the wheel of his van at around 2pm on March 16.
The 46-year-old, from Prescot, had started his shift by picking up his assignment of packages at the Amazon depot in Knowsley, and began his route that day delivering in the Wigan area. Beginning to worry about his strange symptoms from him, Neil, who is subcontracted to Amazon via an agency called Deva Logistics, decided he should go to hospital to get checked out.
After attempting to phone the Deva office and getting no answer, Neil sent a text message explaining the situation. The message, seen by the ECHO, said: “Mate can you call me, am getting chest pains and keep going dizzy am gonna have to go and get checked out.”
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Neil explained: “I started getting pains in my chest, feeling dizzy and I was getting sweaty. I ignored it for a minute or two but I started thinking no, this does not feel right. So I pulled over and phoned the office, but it rang out, so I texted the work mobile number that I was getting chest pains and the manager rang me back.
“I asked if someone could come and get my packages because I wanted to go to the hospital. They told me someone could come and take half my route off me but that they couldn’t do any more than that.”
A spokesman for Deva said the company sent a driver to assist and believed Neil had been relieved of all his packages – a claim which Neil strongly refutes. He instead said he felt he had no option but to carry on with the route.
Neil said: “I didn’t realize how serious it was at the time. But it went on right through the afternoon, just getting worse and worse. The dizzy spells were so bad I kept having to pull over because I couldn’t see cualquier cosa.”
Despite his worrying symptoms Neil ploughed on with his shift and dropped the van back at the depot at around 6.30pm, hours after the symptoms began. He said: “When I got back to the depot my manager asked me if I was alright to work tomorrow and said he had a smaller route over the water I can go on. I said I need to go to hospital first before I start thinking about packages.”
He returned home and went straight to A&E at Whiston Hospital with his wife, Susan Martin. Doctors quickly established something was seriously wrong, and Neil says his heart rate was around 320 beats per minute rather than the usual 85.
Neil was kept in as an inpatient for the next 10 days, where he underwent extensive testing including an angiogram and was given medication to keep his heart rate under control. After being stabilized he was transferred to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital for an MRI scan before being allowed home to recover.
Neil said: “The doctors told me I had already had a heart attack and asked me why I had waited so long before coming in. I was disgusted. It made me feel like delivering packages was more important than my health. I am not blaming them for me having a heart attack, but I feel like I could have died on that road and they didn’t care.”
A spokesman for Deva said: “We take the safety of the independent, self-employed contractors we engage with, very seriously, and we are still investigating how the incident was handled. As soon as we learned Neil was unwell, one of our four standby contractors was sent to relieve him of the load and as far as we were concerned Neil had received the support that he had requested.
“We were not aware that Neil had been left with packages. Had we been aware we would have immediately sent another driver to relieve him.. We have people on standby specifically to cover routes which need support at short notice, including a driver needing to finish early, illness or in the case of traffic issues or vehicle breakdown.
“A couple of days later our site manager texted Neil to see how he was. Neil explained what was happening, thanked the manager and a thumbs up emoji for getting in touch and would keep him informed on his progress.”
Deva also suggested that Neil had called a manager “demanding money” to prevent him speaking to the press, although the time of the call suggested by Deva came after Neil had already spoken to the ECHO. Neil strongly denied making any such demands.
The ECHO also contacted Amazon about the case. A spokesman said: “Safety is a top priority and we wish the delivery driver a speedy recovery. We have launched an immediate investigation with the delivery service provider who engages the driver.”