A 91-year-old woman was left lying in her home for TWO DAYS after she suffered a stroke while on the phone to an out-of-hours GP service who failed to help her.
Elizabeth Youle, 91, known as Betty, collapsed while on the phone to an out-of-hours medic about a cut on her leg.
She had called the service after cutting her leg on a thorn while gardening but suffered the stroke while talking to the representative from the out-of-hours firm.
A member of staff from the not-for-profit Nottingham Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) Community Benefit Services Ltd visited her home in Woolaton, Nottingham, but left after Betty failed to answer the door.
Shockingly, Betty was unable to shout for help as a result of the stroke and was left lying on the floor of her home for two days before relatives raised the alarm.
Police managed to gain access to her home through an unlocked back door and an ambulance rushed Betty to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
The stroke left the retired French teacher unable to swallow and she had to be fed via a tube in hospital following the incident in June 2011.
After being moved to City Hospital, in Nottingham, she stayed for three months and underwent physiotherapy after she recovered from pneumonia, and eventually recovered her speech.
Yesterday Betty’s furious family launched legal action against the out-of-hours service.
Betty’s niece Christine said: “Unfortunately the representative from the out-of-hours service did not attempt to call the police or investigate the back of the property.
“If he had done this, he would have discovered that the back door was open and quickly realised that something was wrong.
“This could have made a significant difference to Betty who was lying paralysed due to the effects of the stroke and could not call for help.
“Unfortunately Betty lost a lot of vital time when she first suffered the stroke and the subsequent pneumonia also delayed how much the hospital team could do to help her recovery.
“If she had been found the day it occurred there may have been a significant difference in her experience and long term outcome.”
Betty, who had lived independently in her home for 50 years before the stroke, now needs round-the-clock care and lives full-time with Christine.
A spokesman for NEMS said: “This is a sad and difficult case for all those involved and we take this matter very seriously.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment further whilst the claim is ongoing.”
Sarah Stanton, the solicitor representing Mrs Youle’s case, said: “The elderly can be an incredibly vulnerable group when trying to access out-of-hours medical care.
“This case highlights the dangers of not adequately providing these services.”