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Teenager waits 29 hours for arm op

PUBLISHED: 01:04 20 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

A TEENAGE boy who suffered a horrific arm injury endured a 29-hour wait on the ward of a Suffolk hospital before he was operated on.

Steven Andrews, 14, of Wood Cottage, Debach, near Woodbridge, sustained a compound fracture of the right elbow - meaning the bone pierced his skin - after he fell off his bike on Saturday afternoon.

A TEENAGE boy who suffered a horrific arm injury endured a 29-hour wait on the ward of a Suffolk hospital before he was operated on.

Steven Andrews, 14, of Wood Cottage, Debach, near Woodbridge, sustained a compound fracture of the right elbow – meaning the bone pierced his skin - after he fell off his bike on Saturday afternoon.

He was admitted to the Accident and Emergency department of Ipswich Hospital just before 4pm but it was not until 8pm the following day that he had a six-hour operation to set his broken bone.

Steven's parents, Kevin and Jennifer Andrews, grew increasingly angry and frustrated as medical staff postponed surgery three times because of a lack of theatre space.

Mr Andrews, a self-employed carpenter, said: "Steven was in such agony and couldn't eat or drink either."

Steven was x-rayed and given a temporary plaster cast when he arrived at Ipswich Hospital but did not get moved from A&E until just before midnight.

"At first Steven was putting on a brave face but then it just got too much for him," Mr Andrews said. "The temporary plaster was very heavy and the nurses could only give him so many painkillers."

Despite his son's ordeal, Mr Andrews praised the nursing staff and doctors for the treatment they gave and their attitude, but added that by 7.30pm on the Sunday he lost his patience.

"I don't really know what the problem is," he said. "Something is not right in the system for him to lie there like that.

"The surgeon was ready and so were the nurses but they just could not get the boy in the theatre."

Steven eventually had to have pins and plates put into his arm and will be recovering in hospital for the next few days.

Mr Andrews has vowed to write a formal letter of complaint to the hospital.

A spokeswoman for the hospital apologised to the family and blamed the incident on a communication breakdown during the course of a very busy weekend.

She said: "The doctor who first saw Steven had hoped to get him first on the operating list for surgery on Sunday.

"However, Accident and Emergency, the Trauma and Orthopaedics team and the surgical team were all extraordinarily busy so theatre staff had to sort cases according to the complexity and urgency of the operation.

"Very sadly this meant that Steven did not get to theatre until the evening."

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