"I just want paramedics to be aware of the dangers"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance

(as a relative),

In June a neighbour called to say she could hear my sister calling for help. This neighbour lives immediately next to my sister and a few doors away from me.

Although I have a key for my sister’s house I could not get in as the key had been left in the lock from the inside. My neighbour was able to break in and we found my sister lying on the floor in her room. She had fallen the previous evening and cut herself on the tray on which she had fallen. We did not move her but called for an ambulance to attend.

When the ambulance arrived the paramedics checked my sister for injuries and asked if she could wriggle her fingers and toes. She could, except for her right hand which had become numb as she had lain on her right arm all night. Because of the way in which she had fallen she was jammed up between a door and a wall and the only way to move her was to position her on to a sheet and lift her onto the bed. From here they were able to get her onto a chair so that she could be taken down to the ambulance.

Following tests at the hospital it transpired that my sister had damaged her spinal cord and is now unable to move her head or arms.

What concerns me is that at no point was a neck brace put on to prevent damage to her spinal cord. We had not dared to move her in case we hurt her or caused more damage but the ambulance crew did not seem to think a neck brace was necessary. I’m concerned that my sister’s condition may have been compromised without the brace.

I feel that the ambulance crews need to be made more aware of such dangers.

I had a similar concern when my husband was given atrovent using a face mask. When he was in hospital recovering from a chest infection atrovent was given to him in this way for a number of weeks but stopped when a sister returning from leave explained it should never be given like this as it can damage the eyes. After this I made sure the atrovent was always given safely. However, on an occasion when my husband needed to be taken to hospital due to breathing difficulties the ambulance crew gave him atrovent and ventolin whilst he was wearing a face mask. I told the paramedic what we had been told about the atrovent, his attitude was that he had been paramedic for twenty years and he knew what he was doing.

Again, I just want paramedics to be aware of the dangers.

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Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Good Afternoon Paws20

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. I am sorry that your is experiencing issues since her fall.

We would welcome the opportunity to look into the events surrounding your mother's ambulance care. May I ask you to call our Patient Experience team on 01392 261 585 and one of my colleagues will take some additional information from you.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to provide us with feedback.


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