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Woman thanks those who helped her after fall in King's Lynn town centre

A woman who spent four hours waiting for an ambulance after falling over in Lynn’s town centre last week has thanked those who came to her aid.

The elderly woman, who has asked not to be named, broke her hip after tripping and falling on Broad Street on Tuesday, after which a number of businesses and a retired A&E doctor offered their help.

Ruth Griffiths, the woman’s daughter, said they are hoping to identify the doctor, who they believe was called John, who stayed with her while she waited in the doorway of a shop on Broad Street from around 10.15am to 2.15pm.

Ambulance called to an incident on Broad Street, King's Lynn. (18873595)
Ambulance called to an incident on Broad Street, King's Lynn. (18873595)

Ruth said her mother, 79, and her father, 78, from Downham, had been shopping in Lynn that day and had gone separate ways when the accident happened.

“A member of the public heard her bone break,” she said.

“She had been lying on the street and obviously an ambulance was called, and there was a four-hour wait.

“In that time, one of the passers-by was a gentleman who had recently retired from King’s Lynn’s emergency department.

“He said ‘you have broken your hip’ and he sat on the pavement with her for the whole duration, keeping her calm.

“No doubt she was in shock and she was not receiving any pain relief, lying on a cold concrete pavement.”

Ruth said a number of shops took items such as towels and cardboard out of their own stocks to help her mother, to keep her as warm and comfortable as possible.

“She wants to thank them, and she wants to find out who John was to thank him personally,” Ruth added.

And now the family is seeking answers from not just the ambulance service, but also from the hospital, as Ruth’s mother’s ordeal did not end after being picked up in an ambulance.

Ruth said she then waited a further five hours in the ambulance before being admitted into Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“Mum asked repeatedly to be taken to Peterborough instead, knowing that the ambulance had come from there, but they refused,” she added.

Her mother was taken for an x-ray at about 7.30pm, which showed that she had “smashed her hip” and she had to have a total hip replacement.

She has since been discharged from hospital and is back at home.

“Mum said the care she received was excellent but she wants to raise the profile that ambulances are called when they are not needed,” Ruth said.

“She fully expects a serious incident or a baby to be more of a priority, and she’s not saying she expects an ambulance to come immediately.

“But we’re writing to the ambulance service and the hospital, we are requesting a meeting on what went wrong and the lessons to be learnt.

“There could be a positive outcome from this.”

Last week, a spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “We would like to apologise for any distress caused to the patient waiting for an ambulance this morning in King’s Lynn.”

They added: “At the time we received this call, we were experiencing high demand and had to prioritise patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

“This unfortunately meant that some people who did not have life-threatening cases may have experienced longer waits.

“We do understand however that these situations can be stressful for patients and their families and again, we are very sorry.”

The service declined to comment further on the case.

A spokesman for the QEH also declined to comment at this stage, but encouraged the patient to get in touch with their Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

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