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Pensioner in her 90s waited in pain for ambulance for five hours

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A 92-YEAR-OLD woman lay in pain for five hours after fracturing her hip because no ambulance was available.

Now, after considering the Welsh Ambulance Service response to their complaint, the family of Mary Maddocks are to consider whether to take the matter further.

“Our concern is that she was in pain all that time,” said son-in-law Clive Cartwright.

At an inquest in Ruthin Joanne Lees, assistant coroner for North Wales East and Central, said she understood the family’s concerns but there was no evidence that the delay had played a part in Mrs Maddocks’ death.

The pensioner was a resident at the Manor Park Residential Home in Holt where she slipped on some water on the evening of May 22.

Staff called 999 at 11.10pm and with no ambulance having arrived the home manager, Karen Wadman, called again at 12.42am. A third call was made at 2.48am but a paramedics did not arrive until 4.07am.

Mrs Maddocks was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital, where she underwent surgery for her fractured hip and although the surgery was successful her condition declined and she died the following day.

Pathologist Dr Mark Atkinson gave the cause of death as ischemic heart disease, with dementia, frailty and the fracture having contributed.

In a statement read at the hearing Gill Pleming, the ambulance service’s utilisation officer, outlined the service’s priority system and explained that the three 999 calls had initially been graded quite correctly as ‘Green 2’, meaning that an ambulance would be sent with no siren or blue lights, and classed as “not serious or life-threatening”.

Following an audit, however, the calls had been upgraded to ‘Amber 2’, but there were no ambulances available to attend.

Recording a conclusion of natural causes, with the fall having contributed to it, Mrs Lees said: “I completely understand your concerns but I don’t have any evidence that this awful delay contributed in any way to her death.

“That does not mean I am not as concerned as you are about the delay, and it does not prevent you from taking it further.”

The only way the delay might have played a part was in affecting the timing of Mrs Maddocks’ death, she added.

After the hearing Mr Cartwright and his wife Christine, Mrs Maddocks’ daughter, said Mrs Wadman had made an official complaint to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

“She has received a response form them, which we haven’t yet seen, and when we have read it we will consider whether to take the matter further,” said Mr Cartwright.

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