A Belfast woman has been forced to take her elderly mother to the emergency room after being told it would take four hours for an ambulance to arrive after she had a stroke.
Carol McMackin, mother of Allison McCerley, fell ill at her home in Castlereagh last Wednesday around 3 p.m.
After a neighbor warned about the 77-year-old’s condition, Alison, a mother of two, went straight home and called emergency health services at 3:50 p.m.
“I live nine miles from my mother, and as soon as I got there, I rushed over to her, took a look at her and knew right away what it was,” Ellison, 43, told Belfast Live.
Stroke campaigns have repeatedly emphasized the need for rapid stroke detection and emergency care for patients.
But the ambulance was not available, so Carol was taken to the hospital for immediate treatment.
“The 999 worker I spoke to said it would take three to four hours before she was able to book an ambulance for him and take him to the emergency room at Ulster Hospital,” Ellison added.
“This is despite my mother’s face falling to one side and her speech and movement affected by the stroke.
“We all know the first hour after a stroke is critical and anything can happen before I take him home from the hospital.
“The operator advised me to take him to the hospital himself, and when I asked him what to do if he made my car dizzy again, the answer was ‘Call 999 again and we’ll give you some advice.
“My husband and daughter-in-law had to help my mother drive from home, and once I got to Ulster Hospital I myself had to physically take my mother to the emergency room.
“My mum is a size 18, I’m 8, so you can estimate the weight difference to get me out of the car and safely in a wheelchair because at the time she was unable to stand or walk physically.”
When Ellison arrived at the hospital, he walked into the reception area and told her what had happened to her mother an hour earlier.
He said that just to help the recipient he wouldn’t be able to physically take his mother to the emergency room.
“The receiver brought a chair into my car. The staff were walking and could clearly see me and the receiver as we were trying to get my mother out of the car into the car seat and up the ramp to the emergency room,” Ellison explained.
“She aroused me and felt that humanity was not there. Even though I lost her mobility due to a stroke, the recipient and I helped my mother.”
Last week, Ulster Hospital said its emergency room had seen an increase in the number of patients admitted with Covid-19.
The Southeast Health and Social Assistance Trust has also issued a series of emergency appeals to nursing staff to assist the emergency departments of Ulster and Lagan Valley Hospitals, as well as the medical wards of any hospital.
“I’ve seen the pressure on the hospital staff and it’s unbelievable,” Allison added.
Her mother is now well cared for in the stroke ward, but Ellison said the pressure on the health service needs urgent treatment.
“My mom’s speech isn’t the same anymore, her face is falling out again and she doesn’t use her right hand. He goes to a speech therapist and will need physical therapy, but I obviously don’t blame him for his looks. Then from the staff.”
“But if I wasn’t convinced enough to take my mother to the hospital and wait three or four hours in the ambulance, the outcome could be very different and it would get worse faster.
“The ambulance may take longer, so it may be too late for the mother to receive the ambulance. Anyone with the radio button should fix it,” Ellison added.
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said: “Northern Ireland Ambulance Service will once again take this opportunity to apologize to any patient or caregiver who feels they have not received the standard of care they received. Wait.
“The NIAS has repeatedly made clear the challenges that the service faces and will continue to address. Many of these challenges reflect the enormous pressures felt by the health and social system.
Pressure, with respect to the NIAS, includes the number of employees who are not at work due to a request for isolation due to symptoms of Covid, Covid infection, or close contact with anyone. Corona virus disease. Revised instructions from the Medical Director have improved the situation should staff return, but the unavailability of staff continues to affect.
Delays in returning to emergency departments remain another significant pressure on the NIAS, directly affecting our ability to respond to the calls of community expectation as NIAS crews are forced to continue caring for patients in ambulances for an extended period. Even after you arrive at the hospital.
“NIAS continues to work with our HSC partners to address this issue, but we are concerned about the risk that this could pose a risk to community patients who require 999 responses, which may be delayed due to such a lengthy transfer.
The NIAS will prioritize on-demand calls based on clinical needs. High priority will be given to patients whose condition is immediately life-threatening and who may not be conscious or unable to breathe. We may have to wait longer than we would like, or whatever they expect.
“In this case, we can ask the customer, at the place he deems clinically appropriate, if the patient can be taken to the hospital by ambulance other than by other means. If this is possible, the subscriber is always advised to call if the patient’s condition changes, and if transportation cannot be provided. Other, call an ambulance based on clinical need and availability of an ambulance.
“NIAS is aware that the caregiver for this patient has some concerns about the situation when he arrives at the hospital.” “We cannot comment on the information provided, except to say that NIAS staff regularly assists patients and healthcare professionals who appear to need assistance.”
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