"Long wait for ambulance after rugby incident with suspected spinal injury"

About: Caithness General Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics Scottish Ambulance Service / Emergency Ambulance

(as the patient),

After making a bad tackle in training, the worst fear for myself and coaches was that I may have broken my neck. Panic was setting in with reduced sensation to my left had side. Instant first aid was provided by coaches and one parent who happened to be an ambulance technician. However, there was a long 45 minute wait for an ambulance to arrive. I was laying on the wet pitch on a cold winters morning. By the time the ambulance had arrived my situation had turned worse with hypothermia setting in, so priority was to get me off the pitch quickly and safely and into the warmth of the ambulance.

The paramedics were absolutely brilliant and I cannot fault them. They reassured me the whole time and told me that everything would be alright, which in the end it was. The hospital staff had told me that I was very lucky to not have broken my neck, as I had torn many ligaments.

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Responses

Response from Daniel Quee, Communications Assistant, Scottish Ambulance Service

picture of Daniel Quee

Dear rugbymad,

Thank you very much for getting in touch with us about your fall. First of all, just to say that I do hope you're feeling much better? I'm sure that must have been a really stressful experience and I do hope that our off-duty Ambulance Technician was able to provide the kind of support you needed until the ambulance crew arrived.

I'd like to be able find out more about the length of time it took the ambulance to arrive and so, I would really appreciate it if you would allow us to look into this further. My email address is danielquee@nhs.net - could you please email over some details, like your name, the date/time, the address were you were picked up from etc and I will pass this on to the relevant team?

Please do feel free to give me a call on 0131 314 0001 if you want to talk through anything. Once again, thank you.

Kind Regards,

Daniel Quee

Communications Assistant

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Response from Daniel Quee, Communications Assistant, Scottish Ambulance Service

picture of Daniel Quee

Dear rugbymad,

I hope you're well. It was just to say that I haven't forgotten about your message and we are still looking into this. I hope to receive more information early next week and will of course update you as soon as I can.

In the mean time, should you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch. I hope you have a good weekend and you're looking forward to getting back onto the pitch soon.

Kind Regards,

Daniel Quee

Communications Assistant

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Update posted by rugbymad (the patient)

thanks for keeping me updated about what is happening. I was lucky enough to get myself back on the pitch at the weekend at the Glasgow 7s tournament.

Response from Daniel Quee, Communications Assistant, Scottish Ambulance Service

picture of Daniel Quee

Dear Rugbymad,

I hope you're keeping well. I know that by now you will have received the reply to your original message via email from Nicola Fraser, ACC Supervisor (North) who kindly looked into this for us. I did want to return to Patient Opinion though to post that reply in case you hadn't been checking your emails that often - I know that you're in the middle of your exams!

The first 999 call that day was received at 11:16am. At that time an Ambulance from Thurso Ambulance Station was not available. The Dispatcher in our Ambulance Control Centre contacted the First Responders in Thurso too, but unfortunately they also weren’t free. An ambulance in Wick was already attending at scene with another patient.

An ambulance in Bettyhill was therefore the closest available resource and was dispatched straight away. The ambulance in Wick was cleared (made available) about two minutes after your call but it was immediately dispatched to a patient with an immediately life threatening condition. The GP who covers your area was also attending to another patient.

There was a second 999 call received at 11:57 where the Service was told your precise injuries – the caller also said that they thought you were going into shock. At this time the ambulance was six minutes away and arrived at the rugby club at 12:03.

It was very unfortunate that it seems the odds were stacked against us that day and for that I can only apologise. Ambulances are dispatched as quickly as possible and sent to the most life threatening calls first – please rest assured that everything was done to get an ambulance to you as quickly as possible.

If there is anything at all I can do or if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0131 314 0001 – I’d be more than happy to chat this through with you. It’s great that you were back out on the pitch and I do know from firsthand experience how stressful the exam period can be – I wish you every bit of luck.

With Thanks,

Daniel Quee

Communications Assistant

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