A furious family have hit out after a 92-year-old man died following an ELEVEN hour wait for medical help – six hours for an ambulance and five in A&E.
Stanley Harrison fell at his home when he was getting up from a chair and an ambulance was called but it took six hours to arrive.
And when Stanley finally arrived at hospital he was left waiting in the A&E department for a further five hours.
Eventually he was transferred to a ward but when his family arrived the next day he had suffered a haemorrhage on the brain and passed away three days later.
Now Stanley’s daughter Val Whittaker, from Helston, Cornwall, is asking why it took her father so long to be seen when he was admitted at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.
She said that had she realised the ambulance was delayed by so much she would have left work immediately.
And she said she would have also called a helpful neighbour, so Stanley was not waiting alone.
Val 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.
Stanley’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.”
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.”