Man criticises ambulance service after wife’s ankle break
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 December 2010 | UPDATED: 11:30 29 December 2010
A WESTON man has rubbished claims by Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) that it is ‘coping’ with the wintry conditions after his wife had to wait almost two hours to get to hospital for treatment on a badly broken ankle.
Michael Cox said his wife Hazel smashed her ankle as she tried to get Christmas decorations down from the loft at their home in Porlock Drive, Weston.
And although a paramedic arrived, Mr Cox had to drive his 54-year-old wife to hospital himself after being told an ambulance could not attend because the injury wasn’t life threatening.
Mr Cox said: “I had just had an operation for a collapsed lung, and so obviously I didn’t want to go up in the loft looking for the decorations. I said to Hazel to wait, but she went up without me knowing, and fell.
“We knew straight away that she’d broken her ankle, and I managed to get her downstairs and called for an ambulance.
“We were told that as it wasn’t a life-threatening injury they wouldn’t be able to get an ambulance there for an hour-and-a-half.”
Mr Cox, 57, added that although a paramedic soon arrived to help with pain relief, when he too called for an ambulance he was told it would be another hour.
He said: “That would have meant waiting for two-and-a-half hours at least, and although the paramedic had given her some gas for the pain, that wasn’t good enough.
“I’ve got a Shogun, which is quite a big car and good on the icy roads, so eventually we put her on a computer chair and got her into the car, and took her to the hospital.
“She literally shattered her ankle, she’s going to be in plaster for another two months, out of work for six and she might never be able to walk properly ever again.
“When I read the comments by the ambulance service in the Mercury about how they had been coping with the freezing weather, it made me go red.
“To say that when you can’t get an ambulance to someone with a serious injury for two-and-a-half hours isn’t right.”
The comments, carried in the Mercury, were made by GWAS’s director of field operations Tim Stockings, who said the service was ‘better prepared than ever’ to meet the needs of anyone needing medical help in the icy conditions.
A spokesman for GWAS said: “We received a 999 call at 12.15pm reporting that a female had fallen from the loft at home.
“The call was correctly assessed as non-life-threatening and the caller would have been told that for incidents deemed non-life-threatening, an ambulance would not respond under emergency conditions.”