Holbrook: Teen forced to wait for ambulance nearly TWO hours after breaking leg

HOLBROOK/SHOTLEY: An outraged dad has today said he is “appalled” his 13-year-old son had to wait nearly two hours for an ambulance after breaking both bones in his lower leg.

Greg Symes was left lying on the school field at Holbrook High through heavy downpours last Thursday after hearing a loud “crunch” as he played football during the lunch break.

The teenager said he felt an “agonising” pain in his lower leg.

Dad John Symes, of Baker Road, Shotley Gate, said his son was left “screaming in agony” for around an hour and 45 minutes.

But an ambulance spokeswoman said due to confusion over the severity of the injury during the initial call, the incident was downgraded to a non-emergency.

She said as soon as the trust’s clinical support desk called back and was made aware of the true situation they upgraded the call to an emergency.

“I was appalled,” Mr Symes said last night, after bringing his son home from Ipswich Hospital. “He was lying on the pitch on a cold day, in the rain.

Most Read

“His teachers were great, they did what they could but they didn’t want to risk moving him for fear of causing more damage. They can’t expect lay people to diagnose something like that.

“He was screaming out in pain. As soon as I got there he told me he had broken his leg – he heard it go.”

Greg, a keen footballer and cricketer, had an operation to reset his bones before being allowed home.

The Holbrook student is in plaster from his ankle to his hip for the next 13 weeks while he recovers. He has been told he will miss the coming football season but vowed to make a full recovery.

“I could be better,” said Greg. “It was agony, I just remember going to try and pull the ball back and I heard a massive crunch and just fell to the floor.

“Straight away I knew I had broken my leg, it was absolute agony.

“They all kept telling me the ambulance would be five minutes so I was trying to count down the time but it just seemed to be endless.”

Mr Symes said he has nothing but praise for the excellent work of doctors at Ipswich Hospital.

“Once we got to the hospital it was five star,” he added. “They were superb, both at paediatric A&E and on Bergholt Ward.

“They were 100 per cent, not a fault anywhere, they got him x-rayed and treated really quickly.”

A Holbrook High spokesman told the Star at the time: “Before the ambulance crews arrived everyone did as best they could, carrying out first aid and helping the child.

“When the crews arrived they acted very professionally.”

An East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said their logs reveal the first call was received at 1.31pm and the ambulance arrived at 3.10pm.

She accepted the trust failed to meet the non-emergency one hour target but said the crew were immediately dispatched as soon as the call was upgraded to an emergency call.

“The information given by the initial caller at the school – that a boy had hurt his ankle but it looked perfectly normal – indicated a non-emergency incident subject to a national guideline of an hour response time,” said the spokeswoman. “Calls are prioritised in this way, similar to A&E departments, to ensure emergency life threatened patients take precedence.

“We attempted to call back the mobile number given by the caller to get more information from someone with the patient but twice could not get through so this stayed as a non-emergency incident.

“We called a third time to do a check on the patient because of the delay to the hour response time due to other life threatening incidents and this time were given information from someone with him indicating an emergency so an ambulance was immediately dispatched. Any issues regarding our service can be addressed to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service at pals@eastamb.nhs.uk.”

n Tell us your experiences of the ambulance service. Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter