An 88-year-old woman was left lying in the front driveway of her home for more than seven hours while waiting for an ambulance. Maureen Paterson suffered a serious leg injury when she fell while getting out of a car.
Ms Paterson’s ankle broke, causing heavy bleeding and leaving exposed bones. Her 87-year-old husband, Richard, immediately called an ambulance, but then they had to wait a whole day for an ambulance to arrive.
The incident prompted an apology from the West Midlands Ambulance Service, which said ‘the whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure’ with lengthy hospital transfers leading to skyrocketing wait times, Birmingham Live reports.
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Ms Paterson suffers from kidney failure and reduced mobility, and her fall occurred around 2.30pm on April 29, after having a meal at the Black Boy pub near her home in Knowle, Solihull. Mr Paterson said the ambulance crew were ‘horrified’ to hear his wife was lying in the open on concrete.
Neighbors and family members came to help, but Ms Paterson’s injury was so severe it could not be moved. She has since had a blood transfusion and surgery, but could lose her foot if it doesn’t heal.
“There was very considerable blood loss, resulting in a pool of blood over 4 feet long on the slope of our practice block,” Mr Paterson said. “Somehow I managed to stop the blood flow and dialed 999 to report the problem in detail.
“We put her in the recovery position and covered her with a cell blanket and a warm duvet. But she was lying directly on the concrete blocks of the driveway.”
Mr Paterson – who says he spoke out because he doesn’t want others to experience the same – has filed a formal complaint. But he credited the “superb” ambulance team while praising the staff and doctors at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The former export worker – who has been retired for 27 years – said: “The ambulance crew were horrified that she was left out in the open on the concrete. But we didn’t dared not move her to another location due to the risk of further damage to the limb.
“I made a formal complaint to WMAS and got a phone call that they were going to launch an investigation. We didn’t even call a paramedic.
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“Full credit is [due] to the superb ambulance crew who handled the issue on arrival with skill and consideration and who were appalled that an 88 year old man was left without medical attention during this time. And also to the staff and doctors at QE 412 who were so efficient and kind in their handling of my wife’s problem.”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We would like to apologize to Ms Paterson for the late response. The whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure and unfortunately the long delays in transfers to hospital mean that some patients wait much longer for an ambulance to come to them than we would like.
“We continue to work with local partners to find ways to reduce delays so that our teams can respond more quickly. Our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to respond as soon as possible. »
Despite the delays, the West Midlands Ambulance Service is currently the third best performing ambulance service in the country. The trust said it continues to recruit hundreds of additional call handlers and frontline clinicians who respond to incidents.