The family of an 87-year-old man were forced to build a makeshift shelter around him using a football goal after he was left waiting for 15 hours in the rain for an ambulance.
The great-grandfather, David, suffered serious injuries, including seven broken ribs, two broken pelvises and an arm wound, after falling at his home in Cornwall.
His daughter, Karen, and his son-in-law, Trevor, called 999 at 7.30pm on Monday but were left waiting for paramedics until 11.30am the next day.
Operators had told the family not to move David in case it made his injuries worse, forcing them to leave him outside overnight.
Over the course of the evening, Karen and Trevor said they made four or five calls to 999, and were given several assurances that paramedics would be with them “soon”.
As rain began to pour down, the couple used a football goal, umbrellas and tarpaulin to create a shelter for the pensioner in an attempt to shield him from the elements.
The incident comes amid long waiting times for hospital treatment in Cornwall – with patients saying they have been waiting outside hospitals in ambulances for hours and even days.
“It was traumatizing”
“He was walking to the garage when he tripped and fell,” Trevor said.
”We called 999 but an ambulance didn’t come for over 15 hours. We kept calling and they said we will be with you soon.
“My wife was a nervous wreck.
”They kept telling us not to move him, so we borrowed a football goal from the neighbor and used a tarp. It was traumatizing.”
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David, who lives in the small Cornish village of Saint Columb Road, is now recovering at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske.
A Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care System spokesperson said: “Like other parts of the country, our health and care system continues to experience pressure.
”The reasons for this are complex, including high demand for primary and secondary care, mental health services and social care for adults.
“Our teams continue to work together to support people who need our care and we encourage people to use the most appropriate service – including your local pharmacy, minor injuries departments or 111 online – to keep our A&E and 999 services available to persons with acute needs and life-threatening needs.”
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been contacted for comment.