A FRAIL 92-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease had to wait 38 hours for medical help after she was left with blood pouring from a gashed leg, her daughter has claimed.
An investigation has been launched into how Irene Roden was left alone by emergency services – who said her injury was not a high priority – despite repeated calls for help from her carers and family.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service said callers were asked a number of questions and their answers were used to determine the case’s priority.
Janet Free, Irene’s daughter, said her mother’s leg split open as she was being washed by carers at her home in Rotherham.
The carers rang the number for the town’s emergency nurses, but were then told to call 999.
Mrs Free said call centre officials asked if Mrs Roden was on blood-thinning drug warfarin and, when told she was not, said her case was not serious enough.
Mrs Free, who was told by the 999 operator to phone the call-out system run by the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Mum’s carers, whose support was brilliant, were very upset and concerned but my mother couldn’t say how she felt and blood was gushing from her leg.
“What would have happened if she had been on her own?”
The accident happened at 7.30am, but it was not until 8pm the next day that a nurse came to Mrs Roden’s home in Bramley.
After the carers were put in contact with a district nurse, they were advised to bandage the wound themselves with a dressing, which they did.
Mrs Free said: “Mum had a two-and-a-half inch gash that required five strips or stitches. But then it was borderline to do so because the cut had been left so long and could have become infected.”
A spokesman for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said an investigation was under way.
She said: “We are aware of the complaint from Mrs Free regarding the services received by her mother and are investigating.”
Dave Macklin, of the ambulance service, said: “Staff in our 999 emergency operations centres ask callers a series of questions to determine the seriousness of patients’ illnesses or injuries.
“Based on the information given by callers, patients who do not have serious bleeding and are not taking blood-thinning drugs are not categorised as life-threatening emergencies.”