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Bandon woman (88) had to wait 14 hours for ambulance after fall

March 28th, 2022 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Bandon woman (88) had to wait 14 hours for ambulance after fall Image

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AN-88-year-old woman in Bandon, who sustained a broken shoulder and a hairline fracture to the hip, had to wait 14 hours for an ambulance to take her to hospital.

The woman’s son Eamon Lucey spoke to The Southern Star about the ‘severe and unnecessary distress’ it caused his mother, and the worry that such delays ‘could cost lives.’

Mr Lucey alleged there were no ambulances available for West Cork on Monday night because they were all dealing with city calls.  He asked if the 14-hour delay is ‘a new record low in the dismal records’ of the National Ambulance Service?

‘We want this to stop,’ he said. 

‘As a family, we don’t want anyone else in West Cork suffering the same indignity as a result of bureaucracy and total lack of understanding of the reality on the ground.’ 

Mr Lucey said his mother fell while out walking in Bandon at about 1pm on Monday and an ambulance was called at 2pm. 

‘Despite numerous calls back and forth to the ambulance service, no ambulance arrived all afternoon so the family called SouthDoc in the evening,’ said Mr Lucey. 

‘The doctor who attended my mother also placed a call for an ambulance at 10pm,’ he added, ‘and the family made the final emergency service call at 3am on Tuesday morning.

‘All this time,’ he said, ‘she was in severe pain and unable to move from her position in an armchair.

‘There was no way she could have been moved to the horizontal position or moved by car to hospital.’

The ambulance arrived at 4am and the woman was admitted to Cork University Hospital at 5am. Subsequent investigations confirmed she had a broken shoulder and a hairline fracture to the hip.  

‘We are grateful for the professionalism of the paramedics who attended, but they were mortified that they couldn’t have been tasked to deal with it earlier in the day because they know a priority case when they meet one,’ said Mr Lucey. He believes the despatching system is at fault because ‘the powers that be are sending ambulances far and wide chasing calls further and further from their home districts and leaving their catchment areas without cover.’

‘Thankfully,’ Mr Lucey said, ‘my mother is in good care now, but the wait time caused by the lack of ambulance cover in West Cork is causing severe and unnecessary distress and possibly even costing lives.’

The HSE had not responded to requests for comments at the time of going to press.

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