In spite of the delay, the victim was full of praise for the attention he received when the crew did arrive.
Tom Maguire, 89, of Fr Russell Road, Limerick, cut his head when he fell while with his son Michael at the Unicorn bar and restaurant in Dooradoyle on Sunday afternoon. Mr Maguire said he would visit the bar several times a week for a glass of beer and a small whiskey.
On seeing him fall, staff at the Unicorn rang 999. The call went to the ambulance control centre located across from the main entrance to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital and a few minutes’ walk from the Unicorn.
Brian Greene, owner of the Unicorn, said Mr Maguire was putting on his coat to leave when he fell and hit his head.
“We put a cushion under his head and he seemed alright,” said Mr Greene. “He was talking to us and the staff and his son were with him. I actually got my iPhone and played some Richard Cooke music to him while he was lying and waiting for the ambulance.”
Mr Greene estimated it took nearly half an hour for an ambulance to arrive.
Mr Maguire said yesterday he received three staples to his head wound and was fine. He was allowed home on Sunday night after treatment.
“I was not aware of how long I was waiting, but the ambulance crew were very good and so were the staff at the hospital,” he said. “I feel fine.”
A HSE spokesman said that when the call came regarding Mr Maguire, ambulance crews were dealing with several other calls including a road traffic accident.
“The first available ambulance was dispatched at 16.32 and arrived at the Unicorn at 16.33,” he said. “We apologise for the delay in responding to this call, which occurred on an exceptionally busy Sunday afternoon. Backup from Ennis, Scariff, and Newcastle West was deployed during this period.”