Daylesford residents mourn woman’s sudden death after dog attack

Toni on Wednesday.
Toni on Wednesday.

Toni was dropping her daughter off at school in Daylesford when she saw somebody on the ground.

Rushing over, she found Trish Nield, who had fallen and hit her head after her puppy was attacked by a dog along Smith Street on October 10.

Not knowing what to do, Toni and a group of about five others stopped to help Ms Nield.

Their actions over the next 45 minutes showed the strength of community spirit in Daylesford, but the tragedy has raised questions over ambulance response times for emergencies in regional Victoria.

“I held her hand and was trying to tell her that help was on the way, that she was surrounded by good people,” Toni said.

An ambulance took about 45 minutes to attend after a man dialled triple-0.

“It felt like the longest hour in my life,” Toni said.

“Things just seemed to be deteriorating in front of our eyes. We were helpless.”

Paramedics eventually arrived about 10.40am, taking Ms Nield away by road ambulance before a helicopter was called in, airlifting her to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

But after being conveyed to hospital she was unable to be saved.

Ms Nield died on October 19, more than a week after the dog attack, shocking the Daylesford community.

“I feel such a loss and connection to someone I just couldn't help for an hour,” Toni said. “I can't imagine how her family feels.”

Ms Nield’s neighbour, Wayne Evans, said her death was a tragedy that had touched many in Daylesford.

“She’s already terribly missed,” he said. “Trish was such a great neighbour.”

On Sunday at 5pm, friends of Ms Nield will gather at Middleton Gardens on Smith Street to reflect on their much-loved friend.

Mr Evans said all in the community were welcome to attend.

Ambulance Victoria has said it would conduct a review into the incident after concerns were raised about the response time of the ambulance on the morning of October 10.

Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas, whose seat takes in Daylesford, said several constituents had raised the issue with her over the past week.

“I’ll be interested to hear the outcomes of Ambulance Victoria's inquiry,” Ms Thomas said.