Milford parents turned away from Royal Bournemouth Hospital after six-hour ambulance delay forces them to drive eight-year-old son with broken leg
A MILFORD youngster in agony with a broken leg was turned away from hospital after his parents were forced to drive him having been told they could be waiting up to six hours for an ambulance.
Abby and Ricky Wyatt told the A&T that Royal Bournemouth Hospital staff also did not give eight-year-old Rody pain relief before diverting them to Poole General Hospital.
The parents dialled 999 after he was hurt playing football with his brother Riley (10) in their garden in Solent Way around 7.30pm last Monday.
But they were astonished to hear an ambulance could take five to six hours.
Mr Wyatt (40) said: “I was like, ‘You’re kidding me, I’ve got an eight-year-old son with a broken leg’.
“The bone was properly snapped and his leg was pointing the wrong way.”
Phoning back about 15 minutes later, he was again told the service was very busy. The call handler promised to send a paramedic from Lymington with pain relief.
After a longer wait, the couple decided it would be quicker to drive him themselves.
“It was an awful drive,” Mrs Wyatt (34) said. “I was behind the driver’s seat holding Rody’s leg. Every time the car went round a corner, a bend or a roundabout, he cried out.
“We had to drive very slowly. By the time we got to Bournemouth hospital it was about 9.30pm.”
Mr Wyatt said a doctor who came out to see Rody advised they could not treat him there and he should go to Poole.
“They said, ‘We could take him in and give him pain relief but he would have to wait for a bed to take him to Poole’,” he recalled.
“The doctor said, ‘If it was my son, I would just drive him to Poole’.”
The slow journey took another half-hour, exacerbated by speed bumps around Bournemouth hospital.
At Poole, paramedics immediately provided gas and air and took Rody into a children’s ward.
“I don’t think they could quite believe we’d driven all that way with his leg like that,” Mrs Wyatt continued.
“When we told them that Bournemouth told us to go there, they weren’t happy about it and said they would chase it up.”
Rody’s leg was put in a cast around 1am and, the following morning, he was anaesthetised and the bones reset.
Discharged last Thursday, he may need an operation to insert metal plates if his leg does not remain straight.
“He was very brave,” Mrs Wyatt said. “When your child’s in that much pain you just want to take it away.”
Responding to the delay complaint, South Central Ambulance Service explained calls were prioritised based on clinical urgency.
“There will be occasions when this means some patients in lower category calls will wait longer, particularly at times of significant pressure on the service,” a spokesperson said.
“We will always be as open as we can with callers about this and provide the best care we can in the circumstances.
“We would be happy to talk to the family directly to explain this in more detail and would urge them to get in touch via our patient experience team so we can discuss further.”
A University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “The decision for a patient to be asked to attend a different hospital in our trust would have been taken by our clinicians in the best interest of that patient.
“Poole Hospital is University Hospitals Dorset’s centre for paediatric and orthopaedic care and is the most appropriate place for any initial and ongoing care of a child with a broken bone.
“There is a lot of demand across our emergency departments at Bournemouth and Poole and sometimes the difference in waiting times between the two might also be a factor in any decision to ask a patient to attend the other.”
They pledged to free up more ambulances to transfer patients.