90-minute wait for ambulance after elderly Caerleon man’s fall
1:10pm Monday 30th July 2012 in Gwent news
A 90-YEAR-OLD had a lucky escape after falling down 11 concrete steps – but then had to wait an hour and a half for an ambulance.
Wilfred Riding, from Caerleon, who will turn 91 on August 9, was enjoying the sunshine last Tuesday, sitting in his garden.
As he was making his way back to his ground-floor flat, he spotting a neighbour’s cat that had been missing.
He was shooing the cat up a flight of concrete steps when he misplaced his footing, falling backwards down 11 steps.
Mr Riding said: “I was conscious but shaken and in shock. Luckily, I was spotted almost straight away.”
Another resident, Claire Harvey, dialled 999 at 5.23pm and stood with Mr Riding, who remained in a foetal position on the floor.
As an ambulance failed to arrive an hour later, Miss Harvey called again and then for a third time at 6.46pm, with the ambulance arriving approximately 15 minutes later.
She said: “I cannot believe that they would leave someone laying on the ground for that long. We were not sure if he had broken anything or if he was suffering from head injuries.”
Mr Riding said: “The wait for the ambulance was taking ages and I couldn’t remain in that position for long, so I began to sit up so I could stretch out my legs.
“I didn’t think I had broken anything big as I could move, but I wasn’t sure and I had grazed my head.”
Mr Riding escaped with a cut to his head, his arm and a fractured rib.
Following the arrival of the paramedics, who checked him over, he was able to go home with his daughter, Marie, who had already arrived on the scene.
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said: “At the time, we were facing an extremely busy period, with all ambulances dealing with high-priority calls and significant delays at hospitals.
“We regret that we were not able to respond as quickly as we would have liked and would welcome the patient or their family contacting us should they wish to discuss the matter further.”