An elderly man was left waiting two hours for an ambulance after he fell on a pavement in Cork and sustained head injuries.
The fall happened at the entrance of Farranlea Road Nursing Unit, where he is believed to be a resident, in Wilton which is only six minutes drive from Cork University Hospital.
The man, in his late 80s, was comforted by a group of passersby, one of which was Caroline McCarthy.
Speaking to C103’s Cork Today with Patricia Messinger Caroline explained that she came across the man at 2:50 pm and it was believed that he had fallen “just before 2pm”.
The ambulance did not arrive until 3:55pm.
She said the group first rang the National Ambulance Service but when no ambulance arrived they decided to ring CUH directly.
It was then they were told that the hospital had five ambulances at their Emergency Department bay but they just did not have the staff deal with the demand.
According to the INMO Trolley Watch figures for that day, there were 40 patients waiting to be admitted to the hospital.
“It wasn’t their fault, the woman on the phone was very helpful, they just didn’t have the resources to deal with it,” Caroline said.
Caroline praised the staff of Farranlea nursing home saying that they “were doing everything possible to make him comfortable” during the wait.
As an additional neck injury was suspected, along with a substantial head injury, they did not want to move him.
The man was conscious throughout the ordeal and kept asking those around him when the ambulance was coming.
Listen to the full interview here.
The HSE has since said: The National Ambulance Service can confirm an emergency 999/112 call was received for the area of Farranlea House Nursing Unit in Cork on 19th August 2019. The call was triaged using the internationally recognised Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMPDS). This system prioritises calls using internationally agreed procedures and protocols thus ensuring that life-threatening and potentially life-threatening calls receive an appropriate response.
Adding: The National Emergency Operations centre (NEOC) dispatcher immediately allocated the nearest available ambulance which was diverted to a higher acuity call while on route to this incident.
The next available ambulance was immediately assigned but due to the high volume of emergency calls at the time, it was required to travel a considerable distance to the scene. Attending paramedics provided pre-hospital emergency care at the scene.