"Paramedics error of professional judgement"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

In August 2013 my 58yr old husband came off his bicycle on the Taunton Rd just coming out of Wellington by some roadworks. Roadwork man wanted to call an ambulance but not wanting to make a fuss my husband suggested he contacted me (his wife) to pick him up.

My husband could not put any weight through his right leg and was in a lot of pain in the hip area. He was unable to get into my car due to the pain. I said we really needed to call an ambulance as I was concerned that he may do further damage if he continued to try and get into the car. Ambulance was called for. We did not have to wait long before an ambulance car and one paramedic arrived.

My husband was sitting half in half out of my car, the paramedic gave him a cursory examination looking at the length of his legs and said that it was highly unlikely that he had broken anything, only old ladies fracture their hips. He did not think it was necessary for my husband to go to hospital but said its up to you mate.

At this point I intervened and said at the very least my husband should have an xray as he was in substantial pain and I tried to explain that my husband has a very high pain threshold and that if he is in pain then it was serious.

The paramedic indicated that if my husband wanted to go to hospital then he needed to get into my car. He managed this but was in considerable pain doing so. We followed the ambulance car to Musgrove Park Hospital Taunton and the paramedic got a wheelchair for my husband to transfer himself unaided from my car into the wheelchair and booked him into A&E

According to my daughter who works in A&E in another area told me that my husband should have been on a trolley with a hip injury and not left in a wheelchair for over an hour. My husband was xrayed which showed 4 fractures of the pelvis (acetabulum and pubic rami). So it is not only old ladies that fracture their hips.

I believe the paramedic made an error of judgement and maybe he needs to be informed of the outcome. I do not have a name but records would indicate who it was that attended. My husband required reconstruction surgery of the pelvis in Frenchay hospital Bristol. I know the ambulance service does a wonderful and that the service is abused, but my husband and I are both professional people and this is the first time ever that we have had to call upon the service and sadly I was disappointed with the response we received.

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Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Hi JRed

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback - I hope your husband is recovering well after his surgery.

We would welcome the opportunity to investigate this event further so that you and your husband can gain some reassurance, and give ourselves the opportunity to identify anything we can learn from to positively affect future service delivery. In order to do this we will need some specific details from you and your husband. May I ask you to contact our Patient Experience Team, at your convenience, on either 01392 261 585 or SWAST.patientexperience@nhs.net.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to share your story.


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