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Ambulance - Attend or not attend????

(88 Posts)
Dawn19 Wed 20-Jul-16 10:10:05

My son was knocked off his bike recently (not by a motor vehicle I may add) and was knocked unconscious and due to his asthma had difficulty breathing, his friends whom he was with at the time phoned for an ambulance whilst another of them ran to our house luckily only 5 mins away to inform us. We waited for over an hour and half and still no ambulance arrived, in the end I phoned and cancelled it and took him myself in the car as he regained consciousness by this time and was experiencing dizziness and nausea, where we had a lovely 3 hour wait in A & E. Is it just me or should the ambulance have arrived before 1 & half hours?

practy Wed 20-Jul-16 10:13:25

This must have been frightening. But it was obviously given a low priority. The fact you waited for 3 hours in A&E shows this was not considered an emergency.

branofthemist Wed 20-Jul-16 10:16:00

In an ideal world, yes it should.
However we have no idea what other call outs they had at the time.

As op said, you waited a long time in A&E so they can't have thought it was a priority, either. Triage and the ambulance service both agreed. If you think it should have been maybe speak to pals.

acasualobserver Wed 20-Jul-16 10:16:01

He was unconscious? For how long? I'm surprised that he was not a priority.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Wed 20-Jul-16 10:17:14

Yes if it was an emergency he would have been triaged as a priority at the hospital,so I think waiting was fine,as those who are seriously ill need help first.

Out of interest,why did you wait so long to take him if you had a car to take him yourself?! confused

DesignedForLife Wed 20-Jul-16 10:20:01

How long was he unconscious for? If anything more than a few moments I'm really surprised he wasn't higher priority.

I called an ambulance for a friend that fainted and wasn't coming round properly, they had a first responder to us in 10 minutes, with an ambulance on standby.

Goingtobeawesome Wed 20-Jul-16 10:29:31

There are only so many ambulances and while an unconscious child is a concern it isn't going to come before someone having a heart attack or with a serious head injury. He wasn't knocked over by a car so presumably they correctly assessed he wasn't critically injured.

hollinhurst84 Wed 20-Jul-16 10:32:26

Designed - he may have been a high priority but if there's 3 unconscious patients (at different locations) and one ambulance....

SheHasAWildHeart Wed 20-Jul-16 10:38:27

I had to ring 999 a few weeks ago because my elderly granddad was having all signs of a heart attack - he has a history of heart problems, has type 2 diabetes etc etc. I was shocked at how slow the operator was on the line, I kept calm and answered her 100 questions and then the ambulance took its own sweet time getting here. If you are able to take someone in your car to hospital I think that is always better than waiting for an ambulance.

hollinhurst84 Wed 20-Jul-16 10:40:12

The operator is a trained dispatcher. The questions get the right response. And it doesn't delay anything - it's important not to rush them so the right response is sent to the patient. A rushed, panicked sounding dispatcher is not good for 999 calls!
And own sweet time? Really hmmbiscuit

BalloonSlayer Wed 20-Jul-16 10:43:41

How old was the child who phoned for an ambulance? Could they have given the wrong directions? (presume you have to do this on a mobile, unlike on a landline when they know where you are calling from)

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 20-Jul-16 10:46:15

This is the second thread that I've read this week when ambulances haven't turned up to incidents that sound like emergencies to a lay person like me. I hope that your son is feeling better after what sounds like a terrifying incident.

birb Wed 20-Jul-16 10:47:26

If you are able to take someone in your car to hospital I think that is always better than waiting for an ambulance.

No, it's not. If they deteriorate while you're stuck in traffic or speeding down a motorway, you have no way to help them without putting everyone at more risk. Ambulance services are underfunded, paramedics don't willingly take a long time to get to an emergency.

caroldecker Wed 20-Jul-16 10:48:48

eyebrows And neither case was actually an emergency medically speaking, which is why they have medically trained people doing the triage.

hollinhurst84 Wed 20-Jul-16 10:49:11

This is the link to the episode mentioned in the other thread. If you haven't seen it, it really is worth watching

quasibex Wed 20-Jul-16 10:49:39

Ambulances are heavily prioritised for which I'm utterly grateful because in a life or death situation for my husband they were there before we got off the phone and by the time they'd reached the hospital the consultant was in theatre waiting to save his life (the NHS at its DC still have their daddy).

If probably be livid that an ambulance hadn't turned up for my child but wouldn't be surprised if the call was given lower status because it was children calling so therefore more likely to be a hoax. At the lest I would have called when I arrived at the scene to confirm his health status and ask an ETA.

If you aren't happy contact the Ambulance Service manager for an explanation as to why your son's ambulance was so long in attending. If there are failings at least they can be addressed constructively.

SexDrugsProfiteroles Wed 20-Jul-16 10:52:03

My daughter didn't come round from a seizure, first responder was 10min but ambulance was nearly 1.5 hours! He was by this point on the radio getting very stressed that he was running out of oxygen for her and her heart rate was maintaining 230/240+, when the ambulance did arrive they were from a neighbouring county (East of England, I'm London) and said it was so busy they'd done three call outs in my area and it was 3am! And that was for a three year old that was rushed into resuss on an idea of what busy must be.

quasibex Wed 20-Jul-16 10:52:09

Good grief excuse my spelling. For some reason my phone and autocorrect hates this site!

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Wed 20-Jul-16 10:52:47

My husband had a heart attack a couple of years ago and I had to call 999. The paramedics who come need information so they know what to do the instant they arrive. That's why the despatcher has to ask a lot of questions. In my husband's case it would definitely not have helped to have taken him to hospital myself (which would have had to be in a taxi as I don't drive). He was in great pain and for all I knew he was about to lose consciousness. The paramedics gave him aspirin (which in our panic neither of us had thought of), gave him other medication, put him straight onto oxygen and an ECG, radioed all the readings through to the cardiac centre for advice on what to do next, and so on and so forth. We were in very good hands and they needed to take their time over what they were doing so they got it right.

Having said all of that, it's not good having to wait for an ambulance when you're very worried. We didn't have to wait, fortunately. The paramedics arrived just as I was putting the phone down after making the 999 call. However, we live in inner London and maybe that makes a difference, because the distances they have to travel are a lot shorter (albeit also quite congested at times).

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Wed 20-Jul-16 10:52:52

I believe that the non emergency (life/death) ambulances local to mine have either a 4 or a 6 hour time slot (2 different companies - on a county border)

emergency ones is 20mins I think

So sounds like they were within taget time

DesignedForLife Wed 20-Jul-16 10:56:47

he may have been a high priority but if there's 3 unconscious patients (at different locations) and one ambulance....

Totally get that, but there are a couple ambulance services under investigation at the moment for not responding correctly, so I think the question should be asked if the child was unconscious for a long time. As quasibex said in those cases these things should be investigated properly & constructively. As I said, if he was only out for a few moments then I totally understand a lower priority.

Discobabe Wed 20-Jul-16 10:57:33

I'm surprised he wasn't a priority if he was unconscious when the call was made. Of course he would have been a lower priority by the time you reached hospital as he had regained consciousness by then and it was obvious he was ok vs when they're unconscious and you really have no idea what will or is happening.

I called 999 for my dh recently when he was crying with unbearable back and stomach pain, clammy, rapid heart beat and no idea why, he couldn't move, it's VERY out of character for him. I was told they'd call me back within an hour 😕. I had to get him in the car to our gp (20 second drive round the corner vs 45 mins to hospital). They diagnosed him with suspected kidney stones, gave him an injection of anti inflammatorys, an injection of morphine and morphine meds to bring home. The Dr told me if it happened again to call an ambulance! When I told him what had happened he told me to just say he'd collapsed next time, they should be coming out to that kind of call as it's the worst pain known apparently. He also said he'd heard of a few cases recently when ambulances weren't sent but should have been. I can only assume they are under an awful lot of pressure but it's quite worrying really!

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Wed 20-Jul-16 10:59:02

Airway, Breathing, Circulation - they're the priorities

When we had an ambulance in minutes DD wasn't breathing (chocking incident)

Unconcsious not breathing = top priority
Knocked out for a bit but breathing = scary but not imminant death without an instand ambulance. If that changes you call back and your priority changes

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Wed 20-Jul-16 11:00:06

(eek sorry for awful spelling, one handed)

Welshmaenad Wed 20-Jul-16 11:04:22

I'm surprised he was t higher priority. The first question they ask is if the person is concious and breathing - 'no' and 'struggling to breathe' should surely trigger an emergency response?

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