Scandalous 23-hour wait for ambulance before man dies

Whatever the circumstances were, this is absolutely scandalous. An 80-year-old man, who fell at home and hit his head, waited 23 hours for an ambulance to arrive. Regrettably, he died five days later.

Ambulance bosses are looking into reasons behind the unacceptable delay but, whatever they discover, there can be no excuse.

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John Williams in the ambulance outside Swansea’s Morriston Hospital (Pic: His family, via BBC News).

The man was then forced to wait more than seven hours, in the ambulance outside the hospital, before being admitted.

John Williams fell at home in Gowerton, Swansea, a city in the UK, on Tuesday April 2. But the ambulance did not arrive until Wednesday. Unfortunately, he died on Sunday morning.

I have no idea what led to the fall, but this can only be a real concern for anyone for whom falls are always a risk. People like me. I have mobility and balance problems caused by multiple sclerosis, falls are a persistent danger.

Mr Williams’s son, Darren, told BBC News that the ambulance was called shortly after 8.30am on Tuesday, and the family had been expecting a response “within 40 minutes to an hour”.

However, despite ringing 999 (UK equivalent of 911 in the US) three further times on Tuesday, the ambulance did not arrive until 7.30am on Wednesday and took Mr Williams to Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

Contributed to father’s passing

His son said they were advised not to move his father while waiting for an ambulance and, because of both delays, he did not have any medication for 36 hours. This included some for his heart, and after his father died, Darren Williams said he was told his father’s heart “gave up”.

“I can’t help thinking that all this has contributed to my father’s passing,” he said.

He added that the ambulance crew, when they arrived, were “brilliant” and “just trying to do their job in a very difficult situation”.

A spokeswoman for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board said Mr Williams’s condition began to deteriorate after he was admitted to hospital.

Claire Bevan, director of quality, safety and patient experience for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Mr Williams’s family at this very sad and difficult time.

“We want to ensure a full investigation is carried out into the wait that Mr Williams experienced and we will be communicating with Mr Williams’s family.”

I am pleased that the ambulance service is investigating. The fact that this is already in the public domain can only be good. With the eyes of the world media watching, there should be no opportunity to brush this under the carpet.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Taxi drivers in trouble for refusing passengers with disabilities, one with MS, one with guide dog

Taxi drivers in south Wales, in the UK, are under fire for refusing to take passengers without good reason. And there is only one allowable good reason, according to Mathab Khan, the chair of the Cardiff Hackney Cabs Association, who said that the only time a cab driver would refuse a fare was if the passenger was unfit to travel, because he or she had had too much to drink.

However, two drivers have been accused of refusing to accept as passengers two different people with disabilities – with excessive drinking not being an issue in either case.

The first driver has since been fined for refusing to take a guide dog in his taxi. Cardiff magistrates found Nader Rohbani-Eivazi guilty of breaking the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. He was fined £200 with £415 in costs.

Barbara Stensland. She has MS but Carmarthen taxi driver refused to take her, told her to walk.

Barbara Stensland. She has MS but Carmarthen taxi driver refused to take her, told her to walk.

The second driver is being investigated by Carmarthenshire Council, the taxi licensing authority after a woman with multiple sclerosis complained that she was refused a taxi to a meeting of the MS Society because the journey was too short.

Barbara Stensland, 43, from Cardiff, went to Carmarthen on August 5 but when she tried to get a taxi from the railway station to the venue, less than one mile (1.6km) away, she was refused.

She said: “I went to the first taxi in the queue outside the station, I told him where I wanted to go. He said ‘No, I’m not taking you.’ So he pointed me helpfully in the right direction and told me to walk.”

That investigation is still under way but the council has promised that it will take “appropriate action”.

Janice Powers. Cardiff taxi driver refused to take her guide dog.

Janice Powers. Cardiff taxi driver refused to take her guide dog.

In the first case, blind Janice Powers, 49, was stunned when the taxi driver Rohbani-Eivazi refused her fare because she had her guide dog leading her way.

Janice, of Carmarthen, told how she was with three friends after attending the launch of a diversity and equality initiative at the National Assembly in Cardiff. She went to the taxi rank at Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay to catch a cab to the railway station – but was refused.

She said: “It was late and we were cold and wanted to get home but when we approached the lead hackney carriage for a lift the driver just said: ‘Four people but no dog.’

Janice, who is blind and suffers from arthritis, protested that he was breaking the law by refusing to take her guide dog in the taxi.

“We were flabbergasted – especially as he had disabled stickers on display.

“But when we pointed out that he would be breaking the law if he refused to take my guide dog he just said ‘Take me to court’, she added.

So she did! Janice contacted the planning and licensing office of Cardiff Council, which took out an enforcement action against the driver and provided a solicitor to take him to court.

Janice was also supported in her action by Cardiff, Vales and Valleys Institute for the Blind, RNIB Cymru and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

 

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