Pensioner, 92, died after 6 hour wait for ambulance and then 5 hours for A&E treatment

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Stanley Harrison waited six hours for an ambulance and then for five more hours in hospital after being picked up by paramedics.

A 92-year-old man had to wait 11 hours to see a doctor in A&E after injuring himself in a fall – including waiting SIX hours for an ambulance to arrive.

Stanley Harrison, who later died in hospital, waited for five more hours in hospital after being picked up by paramedics.

Now his family are demanding answers for why he was left waiting for so long.

Stanley,who was known to his friends as Mick, fell while he was getting up from a chair at his home in Mount Hawke, Cornwall on January 24.

An ambulance was called for OAP, who at first appeared to be OK. A doctor arrived first at about 2pm and contacted his family, saying Mr Harrison should go to hospital.

His daughter Val Whittaker, who lives in Ashton near Helston and was at work at the time, was told the ambulance would take him to Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) at Truro within a couple of hours.

However when she called the hospital later that evening she was told he had not yet arrived.

She said the doctor had since left, leaving Mr Harrison on his own for a number of hours. It was not until 8pm that an ambulance arrived to take him to RCH.

Mrs Whittaker said that had she realised, she would have left work immediately, as well as calling a helpful neighbour, so he would not have been alone.

When Mrs Whittaker called the hospital again at 1.30am she was told her father was still waiting in accident and emergency department, more than five hours after he was first admitted.

He was later transferred to a ward in the early hours but when his family arrived later in the morning he had suffered a haemorrhage on the brain. He never recovered and passed away three days later.

Mrs Whittaker said: “What angers me the most is that I wasn’t there when he needed me. It upsets me to know he was lying there on his own.

“Why didn’t the doctor tell me? It’s not like he didn’t have my number. There wasn’t a phone call to say, ‘I am going now’.

“I can’t fully blame the ambulance or hospital because I don’t know if the outcome would have been different. He was 92 and he might not have survived it.”

She said she was also upset that Mr Harrison was kept on a trauma ward at RCH where there was little privacy and disruptive patients. She said the man in the next bed was shouting and the nurses were subject to verbal abuse from other patients.

The family said the staff were very helpful however and granted them free access to the ward outside of visiting times so that they could be at Mr Harrison’s bedside in his final days.

Mrs Whittaker added: “He had a good innings. I can hear him saying that. He was in his nineties so he couldn’t complain.”

Mr Harrison’s granddaughter, Elaine Whittaker, said she could not understand how a man his age was left for such a long period of time.

She said: “I know they’re busy but surely he should not have been left that long. That’s what makes me so angry about it.”

Speaking of her grandad, she said: “I miss him terribly. You could talk to him about anything and he would always be there to help you when you needed it. We have always been close and he has been there for me my whole life.

“We would go out for a meal once a week up at his favourite pub and he always had the same thing – fish, chips and a pint of Guinness.”

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said Mr Harrison’s condition, at the time of the call, was not judged to be life-threatening.

He said: “SWASFT would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family.

“During this incident a number of welfare calls were made to the patient and it was confirmed throughout that his condition had not deteriorated. A doctor had visited the patient during the afternoon and his family were also with him.

“Managing the demand on the ambulance service across the South West can be very challenging and we must prioritise our responses and our ambulance resources according to clinical need so that our most poorly patients receive the most urgent response, such as those in cardiac arrest.

“Sometimes this means that less poorly patients do not get the response that we would wish. To help us manage this demand, we would ask people to only call 999 in an emergency and to use other more appropriate services for less urgent conditions.”

Clinical director of emergency and acute medicine at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Toby Slade, said: “We would like to extend our condolences to Mr Harrison’s family following their recent loss.

“We are unable to comment on this individual case without further investigation but apologise wholeheartedly for any delay experienced by patients during what continues to be an exceptionally busy time for our hospitals.

“Our staff make every effort to admit patients to a ward as soon as possible but this does not prevent investigations and specialist care continuing whilst they are in the emergency department.

“We would ask Mr Harrison’s family to contact us so that we can respond to them personally about any concerns they have.”

 

 

 

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