December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 27, 2013
A 67-year-old man has praised the “amazing” efforts of two people who saved his life during an hour-long wait for an ambulance.
Leslie Cook’s wife Jane, 48, hugged him saying “please don’t die” when blood “poured like a fountain” after he accidentally cut open an artery in his left arm.
Mr Cook was cutting up some cardboard boxes with a Stanley knife at a unit in Cattle Market Street, Fakenham, near the business Wheelspeed. He slipped and cut through an artery in his arm which caused blood to pour out. Mr Cook, who is retired and lives in Barney, takes several medications for heart problems, including warfarin which thins the blood and made the situation more severe. Keith Lowes, who works at Wheelspeed, rushed out, wrapped the cut with a tie and called for an ambulance.
A panic-stricken Mrs Cook ran to the nearby James Beck Auctions house to get help.
Sue Lemon, 49, from North Creake, the auction house’s first aider, applied a padded bandage to the wound and then held Mr Cook’s arm up in the air for about an hour before an ambulance arrived.
Meanwhile Mrs Lemon’s husband Mick, 52, who has had both of his legs amputated because of diabetes, went out onto Cattle Market Street in his wheelchair to divert traffic to secure an easy passage for the ambulance.
The incident happened at around 10.30am last Thursday.
Mrs Lemon said she made three more calls for an ambulance before one arrived. She said she had made it clear that Mr Cook was taking warfarin to highlight the urgent need for help.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said they were first alerted to the incident at 10.42am and an ambulance crew arrived at 11.44am.
The spokesman said the service’s target time for such incidents, which it regarded to be serious but not life-threatening, was 30 minutes and he apologised.
The Fakenham Medical Practice was also called. A duty doctor suggested an ice pack be placed on the cut until the ambulance arrived.
Mr Cook was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn and discharged later in the day.
He said: “The doctor told me that if it hadn’t been for Keith and Sue I could have died. They were amazing. I’ve known them both for several years and it’s good to know that your friends are there for you when you need them.
“Sue was holding my arm up for an hour or so and she must have been absolutely aching but she stuck at it. Her husband was a big help too.
“If it hadn’t been for these people they would have been picking up a corpse.
“I also want to thank the paramedics and Dr Chopra and his team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for doing such a fantastic job.
“The upsetting thing is that it took so long for the ambulance to arrive and the Fakenham surgery could be no help either.”
Mrs Cook said: “I thought my husband was going to die right in front of me. Blood poured out of his arm like a fountain. I have no first aid training and felt so helpless. It was terrifying.”
Mrs Cook said she was intending to make formal complaints to both the East of England Ambulance Service and The Fakenham Medical Practice, which she feels could have done more to help.
Mrs Lemon, who has trained in first aid since she was seven years old, said: “I don’t see myself as a hero as I was only doing what I had been trained to do.
“I’m sure Leslie would have died if the ambulance had taken much longer. I’m disgusted at both the ambulance service and The Fakenham Medical Practice for the way they handled this situation.”
An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: “First and foremost we take delays such as this very seriously and apologise to those concerned. If the patient wishes to discuss our response further, please contact our PALS department on 0800 028 3382.”
“We were alerted at 10.42am and the ambulance crew arrived at the scene 11.44am. The call was coded a Green 2 call which is classed as serious but not life-threatening and requires a 30-minute response. Unfortunately on this occasion, we did not attend within the required time frame.
“All calls are prioritised on clinical need and given the most appropriate available response. This means that on occasions some vehicles can be diverted to patients who are in a more life-threatening condition such as heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrests, particularly in times of high demand.”
The trust says it is working hard to improve its response times to all call categories.
A spokesman for The Fakenham Medical Practice said it was the ambulance service’s responsibility to deal with such incidents and not the responsibility of the practice.
The spokesman said he could not comment on individual cases because of patient confidentiality.
But he did say: “If any patient calls the surgery with a life-threatening event the caller is immediately passed to the duty doctor, who assesses the situation and will call an ambulance if necessary – if this has not already been done.
“If appropriate he will ask the patient to attend the practice if possible so that any necessary and appropriate treatment can be given.
“He will also give any advice he feels necessary to assist the patient or those attending him until the paramedics/ ambulance arrives or the patient is able to reach the surgery.
“If there is serious bleeding of a limb then this advice could include applying a tourniquet, raising the affected limb(s), and/or applying ice packs to help slow the flow of blood.
“If a patient presents at the surgery with an emergency and requires immediately necessary treatment then the practice will do all it possibly can to assist.”