Woman, 70, waits almost eight excruciating hours for an ambulance after breaking hip

PUBLISHED: 19:05 10 March 2019 | UPDATED: 19:05 10 March 2019

Susan Key and her husband Roger.


Susan Key and her husband Roger. Picture: RACHEL EDGE


A 70-year-old woman with terminal lung cancer was forced to wait almost eight agonising hours for an ambulance after breaking her hip at her home in Ipswich - despite living just ten minutes from the nearest hospital.

The 70-year-old slipped and broke her hip in her walk-in shower.  Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe 70-year-old slipped and broke her hip in her walk-in shower. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Susan Key slipped in her shower room at her home in Onehouse Lane on Friday, February 1, breaking her hip and leaving her in terrible pain.

Stuck in her tiny shower room, with her foot against one wall and her back against another, she cried out for help.

Thankfully her son’s girlfriend was with her and called an ambulance at 10.32am. But medics didn’t arrive at her home until after 6.30pm that evening.

Mrs Key, who also suffers from multiple sclerosis, had not taken medication for her condition that day, resulting in ‘uncontrollable jerking motions’ in her body, making her pain infinitely worse.

At around 1pm Mrs Key’s friend called her GP who told her to take some painkillers and to sip water.

The doctor called the ambulance service themselves, urging them to help Mrs Key.

Hours after her fall, and following four further calls to the ambulance service, Mrs Key started experiencing chest pains, prompting her son Adam Tibbenham to put in a fifth call pleading for help. He said her situation was upgraded in priority by the control room, but it was another two hours before an ambulance arrived at her home.

Mrs Key said: “I couldn’t move because of my broken hip plus I find it difficult to get up anyway because of my MS.

“My legs started going into spasms. By the end of the day I was screaming out in agony.

“When the ambulance crew got here they were wonderful.

“They couldn’t believe I had been waiting for help for so long.”

The East of England Ambulance service said it ‘deeply regrets’ Mrs Key’s long wait for help.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm that on February 1 we received a 999 call from a patient who had broken her hip after a fall at home in Ipswich.

“We were extremely busy on February 1 and it is necessary to prioritise patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

“We deeply regret that this patient did wait some time for an ambulance. We have received a complaint so it would be inappropriate for us to comment further until it has been fully investigated.”

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