Injured boy is refused ambulance

DISAPPOINTED Cameron Smith with his mother Kim Smith.   Picture: Paul Jacobs (121762-11)
DISAPPOINTED Cameron Smith with his mother Kim Smith. Picture: Paul Jacobs (121762-11)

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A MOTHER is demanding an apology because an ambulance was not sent out to treat her 10-year-old boy who was left severely injured after he fell off his bicycle.

Cameron Smith was left in agony after one of the metal handlebars on his bike – which did not have the protective cap on – stuck in the top of his leg as he fell on a cycle path in Gregson Avenue, Gosport.

A group of passers-by saw what had happened and quickly dialled 999 while the youngster, of Totland Road, Bridgemary, lay bleeding on the road, which is part of the new Bus Rapid Transit route.

But they were left stunned after the call handler said the incident wasn’t serious enough for an ambulance to attend.

A bus driver travelling along the road then pulled up and made a second 999 call – but he was given the same response.

Cameron’s friend Adam Bucklar, nine, who was cycling with him at the time of the incident on Saturday, May 12, then called his own parents for help.

When they arrived Cameron pulled the handlebar out of his groin so he could get in their car.

Adam’s parents used towels to stop the bleeding and rushed him to Gosport War Memorial Hospital, where nurses immediately called an ambulance to take him to Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Cameron, who is a pupil at Holbrook Primary School, is now at home recovering from surgery to stitch the wound. But the boy’s angry mum, Kim Smith, 34, is left wondering why emergency services didn’t do more to help.

‘I am absolutely disgusted that someone on the end of the phone thought a boy with a handlebar stuck in his leg didn’t need an ambulance,’ she said.

‘I was at work when my sister-in-law rang and told me what had happened. As a mother all sorts of things run through your mind.’

Cameron said: ‘Pulling the handlebar out myself was extremely painful. But I had to do it. I was cross that an ambulance didn’t come out to help me. The whole thing was very stressful.’

Cameron’s grandfather Grayden Smith, 67, made an official complaint to South Central Ambulance Service three days after the incident. As part of the service’s policy it has 25 days from the day a complaint is made to respond.

Mrs Smith added: ‘All we’ve had is a letter back which says our complaint has been received. I don’t understand why it takes 25 days to play a call back and find out that a huge error of judgement was made. All I want is an apology.’

Michelle Ullett, of South Central Ambulance Service, said: ‘We are reviewing the call as part of our complaints process. This involves playing back the calls that were made to us and looking into how we handled them. We have up to 25 days to respond to the complaint. We wish Cameron a speedy recovery.’

HOW CALLS ARE HANDLED

WHEN someone makes a 999 call for an ambulance the telephone operator asks a series of questions about the incident before it is classified as a red, amber or green response.

If a call is a red response then it is a life-threatening incident and an ambulance will arrive within eight minutes.

A call which is considered serious but not life-threatening is classified as amber and emergency services would arrive within 20 minutes of the call being made.

A green response is when a call is not considered to be serious.

A decision would be made as to whether an ambulance would attend or whether the caller could go to a pharmacy, minor injuries unit or a GP instead. For information about non-serious illnesses or injuries contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.