THE son of a Gwent pensioner who waited almost three hours for an ambulance after a heavy fall has slammed the length of time she had to wait.
Clarice Davies, 86, of Pentwynmawr, fell at the Newbridge Memo after arriving for an event on Friday, March 7.
Despite surgery the following day and a good initial recovery, she died at the Royal Gwent Hospital on March 19 of post-operative complications including pneumonia.
There is no suggestion the wait of two hours and 45 minutes for an ambulance following her fall was a factor in Mrs Davies death.
But her son Gareth is angry that an elderly person should have to wait that long, mostly on the floor of a busy venue, cold and in severe pain.
The Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust has begun to look at ways of modifying performance targets for suspected hip fractures, through a programme designed to end reliance on eight-minute emergency response time targets for some conditions.
A key measure of success in responding to suspected hip fractures in future will be how a patient’s pain level is assessed by paramedics, how pain relief is administered, and how the pain is managed on the way to hospital.
But Mr Davies hopes speed will remain a vital part of the response equation.
“Staff at the Memo phoned for an ambulance shortly after 2pm,” he said.
“When I got there, she was lying very awkwardly on the floor and complaining that she had lost the feeling in her lower body.
“She was very, very cold and not looking well.
“Staff phoned the ambulance service three or four times, but at 4.15pm I phoned them on my mobile and tried to stress how serious it was.
“She was in a lot of pain and having breathing difficulties. I’d got her into a chair because I was so concerned about her. The ambulance came at about quarter to five.
“The ambulance crew apologised, and they were great with her.
“But it’s a long time for an old person to be laid down like that.
“I just hope no-one else in that situation has to wait that long,” he added.
Mr Davies has told South Wales East AM Jocelyn Davies (Plaid Cymru) of his concerns, and she told the Argus: “Somebody of this age should have been considered a vulnerable patient.
“We know that elderly people like this can have complications following a fall and I don’t think anyone would agree this was an acceptable length of time to wait.
“The service must be looking at outcomes for patients, and that sort of wait means a poor outcome.”
Nick Smith, the trust’s head of service for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, said: “We extend our thoughts and condolences to the family of Mrs Davies at this very sad and difficult time.
“We have received a formal concern and are liaising with the complainant directly.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,” he added.