Special Report: Human face of health cuts: One poor woman lay in pain for hours with a fractured leg
Case Study 2
Paramedic Brian Maguire (69) from Belfast:
"I have been working in the health service for 43 years and I can put my hand on my heart and say this is the worst I have ever seen it.
I was working in a rapid response vehicle (RRV) recently and was tasked to attend a woman who had fallen in her home. She had made a 999 call at about 12.30pm and I was tasked at 3.10pm. She was in her 70s and in a lot of pain and required a significant amount of morphine to bring that under control.
RRVs cannot transport patients and there were no ambulance crews available so they had to take another paramedic out of a different RRV to come in an ambulance to get her to hospital. We took her to the Royal and I left at about 6.40pm.
That poor woman had been lying with a fractured femur and you can actually lose 2.5 litres of blood with that injury.
Bearing in mind the body holds five litres, it is extremely dangerous for someone with that injury to be left waiting that long. I also went to a different call recently in an RRV and stabilised the patient and she was going to be waiting so long for an ambulance that her husband ended up driving her to hospital.
None of this is safe and none of it is acceptable.
It used to be that we would clean the ambulance every week and now you're lucky if it is done every six months because the crews are so busy. By the time you start your shift in the morning, the calls are lined up already.
The health service is in terrible shape. Recently I had to pay for my wife to go private because of a problem with her spine.
We've spent our lives working for the health service and I had to pay more than £1,000 just to get her out of pain. We're lucky we could afford it."