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Apology after fractured spine victim refused trip in an ambulance
9:00am Saturday 22nd March 2014 in News
A PENSIONER who had fractured his spine says paramedics told him ambulances are for “real emergencies” before leaving him with a neighbour.
Geoffrey Sharp called 999 after a fall at his home in Nobles Lane, Botley, Oxford, but said when the paramedics from the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) arrived, one of them pointed to the ambulance outside and asked him what it said on the side.
The 74-year-old widower said: “He pointed to the ambulance and said ‘what does it say up there?’ “I said ‘emergency’ and he said ‘that’s right, for real emergencies, not people like you who have just had a fall’."
SCAS has since written to Mr Sharp apologising for the “perceived rudeness” of the crew and in a letter confirmed that one of the paramedics involved had already left the trust while the other had been spoken to “to ensure improvement in his future practice”.
The incident happened last August, but SCAS has recently written to Mr Sharp with its response to his official complaint.
Retired Mr Sharp said: “I was in agony, it took me half an hour to haul myself up to my seat to call the ambulance.
“I am sure most ambulance crews do a wonderful job, but these guys just took the mickey.”
He said the paramedics gave him two paracetamol and left him in the care of an elderly neighbour.
He said: “I just assumed they were going to take me in the ambulance.”
It wasn’t until he managed to get an appointment with his GP at Botley Medical Centre, three days later and still in “excruciating pain”, that he said he discovered he had fractured his spine and was referred to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
Mr Sharp, who lost his wife Glenys three years ago on Christmas Eve, and whose son Danny died whilst serving in the Armed Forces said: “My doctor was furious.”
The pensioner, who is now officially cared for by one of his daughters, Wendy, who lives in Headington, made an official complaint to SCAS.
A spokesman for SCAS yesterday said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr Sharp was not happy with our investigation. However, SCAS aims to provide the highest standards of response, care and treatment to our patients and the community.
“Should Mr Sharp, or any complainant, not be content with our investigation we would encourage them to contact us again so that we may conduct a further review.
“This investigation ascertained that the clinical decisions were appropriate and were made in respect of the patient in conjunction with a doctor and in agreement with the patient at the time.”
Mr Sharp, who worked in finance, disputes that the decisions were made with his agreement.
The SCAS spokesman added: “The ambulance crew have undertaken a full reflection of their actions to identify areas to improve future performance.”
But he wouldn’t say what those areas were.
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