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Bolton-le-Sands woman's three hours of agony
6:40am Thursday 27th December 2012 in News
TWO MPs have blasted the North West Ambulance Ser-vice after a pensioner had to wait more than three hours in agony with a broken leg.
An ambulance took three-and-a-half hours to respond when Kathleen Smith, 90, slipped and broke her femur at her Bolton-le-Sands home.
Her family say they made three frantic 999 calls between 6.30pm and 9pm but it was nearly 10pm before an ambulance turned up – in the meantime they had been forced to call on an off-duty paramedic to help.
Her son Terry Smith, who also lives in Bolton-le-Sands, said: “My mum was in pain and was shaking and upset. We’re just concerned now that this is going to keep happening to other people. It isn’t right that someone who is 90 should be kept waiting for all that time.”
After hearing about the incident, MPs David Morris and Tim Farron also spoke out.
Mr Morris, MP for More-cambe and Lunesdale, said: “I am concerned that Mrs Smith had to wait for three-and-a-half hours for an ambulance and will be discussing this with the ambulance service at the earliest opportunity.”
And Westmorland and Lons-dale MP Tim Farron urged the service to make changes, adding: “Ongoing problems with response times in our region has a lot to do with the fact that all ambulances have Lancaster as their main destination and have to travel long distances to take patients from outlying areas of the Bay.”
When the ambulance finally arrived from Preston, Mrs Smith was rushed to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where it was confirmed that she had broken the ‘neck’ of her femur – the bone at the top of her leg.
She was taken for emergency surgery and then kept in hospital for two weeks.
Mr Smith has made a formal complaint to the North West Ambulance Service, urging it to improve response times.
“It is just horrible knowing she waited all that time with a broken leg,” Mr Smith added. “The off-duty paramedic was amazing but he couldn’t administer pain relief and my mother was in agony.
“I don’t know how the system works and I appreciate that they have to prioritise, but an elderly woman with a broken bone should not be bottom of the list.”
A spokesman from the North West Ambulance Service said: “The trust offers its sincere apologies for the distress that was caused for the patient or her family whilst waiting for an ambulance.
“We are undertaking a full investigation into this incident and the reasons for the delay and once this is complete, we shall share our findings with the family.”