A 95-year-old woman who was left lying on the ground for 13 hours while waiting for an ambulance, had to be supplied with water by her family through a wet tissue before help finally arrived.
Joan Massey, blind, was left in fear and torment after falling into her home in Birmingham on November 23.
After her daughter Helen Brooks discovered the retired, emergency services were called at 10.15 a.m.
But paramedics did not finally arrive at the property until 11.15pm.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service has since apologized and said it is dealing with high levels of demand.
Her son-in-law Wendy Massey, 72, He said: I stayed on the ground for more than 13 hours.
Helen Brooks, 95, was left waiting for an ambulance for 13 hours after she fell at her Birmingham home on November 23.
“Although we actually have no idea how long she’s been before that. She’s wearing a helpline around her neck, but being in this position, she obviously forgot she had it.”
I was in twilight when the ambulance came. She was found around 10 a.m. on Earth, but we have no idea how long she was on Earth before my brother-in-law, Helen Brooks, found her.
Helen called 999 at around 10:15, and she was with her the whole time. Joan was obviously uncomfortable for much of that time and wanted to move and needed the bathroom, which is difficult because in this case you can’t move.
She is a blind lady. So she was in a dark world all that time and didn’t know what was happening to her. Her hearing is also very weak.
Wendy said her husband got up around 5 p.m. — seven hours later — and called the ambulance again.
She added: ‘He had to feed her some water with a little kitchen roll because she was in a very uncomfortable and awkward position. At the end he used a teaspoon to feed her some sparkling water because she really wanted water.
Every time we called the ambulance they said they were very sorry and they were busy. We know this and don’t expect special treatment – I fully understand that other emergencies take priority.
‘But 13 hours! We are actually only about 12 minutes away from the main Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
She really looked like a weak old lady at that point. My husband called the paramedics again.
They went through the same set of questions, are they breathing etc, are they short of breath etc – and on the second question this time he said yes, because after that long time on the floor she was breathing slower – so whether that moved us up the list I’m not sure.
It was about a quarter past eleven at night when the paramedics knocked on the door. They were full of apologies, and it’s clearly not their fault at all, they just do their best in very stressful times.
They dealt with it very quickly. They checked it and didn’t think anything was visibly broken. Then they got off that lilo thing and carried her away–with her crying sadly, she’s not a lady complaining.
“That’s why for me and my family, the communication between us and the hospital in this case, or the lack of it, was so important to us.”
Juan’s family said they had to go give the pensioner water through a wet tissue while they were waiting for an ambulance
Wendy claims that since her hospitalization there has been a constant failure of communication between the hospital and the family, which has led to confusion about where and how she is.
She said, “She can’t call us.” We had no idea where it was. how are you. How she was progressing through the system or something.
Usually anyone in her position has their own phone, so the nurses in the wards don’t pick up theirs very well, but given Joan’s situation, she obviously can’t tell us where she is – so it took us some time, Grandpa.
She has since had an x-ray to see if there was any fracture, which it did on Thursday, and it looks like the doctor was supposed to call on Saturday, but it hasn’t happened yet.
“Because the results have to be read by a doctor and not a nurse, we haven’t heard anything yet – even though it’s been days since they were inserted.”
Joanne has since undergone treatment and her daughter Helen is in contact with the hospital about her condition.
When Joanne arrived at the hospital, doctors apparently discovered she had a urinary tract infection, a common cause of falls especially among the elderly.
Wendy added: ‘She wasn’t really eating and wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. They are all apparently quite typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
She has now been given painkillers and a drop to rehydrate and she is getting better I think.
She had a seemingly delusional moment on Saturday as she wasn’t sure where she was due to the drought, but the hospital said they might be able to move her to a one-bedroom soon so one of us could visit her.
“Currently we can’t go and be with her which is sad for her.”
Wendy added that while some people might wonder if Joan is apt to live alone, her circumstances mean it’s more suitable for her.
‘People might also wonder why a lady of this age lives alone,’ she said, ‘the family comes every day – sometimes twice a day – and with her living on the ground floor of her house there were never any problems before.’
Not to mention being blind, she knows where everything is in her house. If you move it, you will get completely confused.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We would like to apologize to Ms. Massey and her family for the delay in responding.
“Unfortunately, the entire NHS is still under severe pressure that is being felt most intensely in our service in the West Midlands; delays in hospital delivery unfortunately mean that patients wait longer for an ambulance response.
Unfortunately, we were also dealing with high levels of demand from people with life-threatening conditions.
We are working with all local partners across the Health and Care system to reduce delays so crews can respond to the next incident as quickly as possible and staff and volunteers continue to work tirelessly to respond as quickly as possible.
“We continue to strengthen our frontline staff and control room and have introduced a number of measures to help manage stress in the service.”