Apr 21, 2021

80-year-old man fighting for life after being left in ambulance for hours

Ambulance emergency

An older man from South Australia was taken to hospital after experiencing abdominal pain, and left ‘ramped’ for hours while the emergency department was “overflowing”. 

In a statement released by the nurses union, the man suffered a cardiac arrest while he was left in an ambulance, waiting to be seen for four hours. 

After arriving at Flinders Medical Centre at 11:30pm, the 80-year-old man was left ramped, in what has been called a “catastrophic [event] that can and should be avoided”.

According to Professor Elizabeth Dabars from the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Foundation, the “absolutely shocking” event could have been avoided, and the man should never have been left in the ambulance for so long. 

An insider told the SA Branch of the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Foundation that if he had been brought into the hospital when he arrived, the situation would not have become so life threatening. 

“It’s heartbreaking; if he had come in (from the back of the ambulance) at 11.30 it would have been a leaking AAA and maybe repairable,’’ said the insider. 

“But the ED was absolutely full to the brink last night.”

According to the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Foundation, this is just one case that demonstrates the incredible wait times in SA hospitals. It also comes just one week after a 93-year-old woman with suspected spinal injuries was left ramped for over six hours at Flinders Medical Centre. 

“More people than ever before are now waiting such ridiculously long times for treatment … it has become a life and death situation,’’ said Professor Dabars.

“The overcrowding at our emergency departments is at unprecedented dangerous levels. It is now a threat not only to people’s wellbeing but their very lives.

“The State Government simply must act now to alleviate the crushing burden on our under-resourced, under-staffed emergency departments or their own citizens risk paying the ultimate price.

“Continued inaction or further delay will leave them with blood on their hands.’’

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  1. If the Government took off the 70% loading on private health insurance, I’m sure a lot more older people would join. It would take the strain off the public health system.

    1. If a truly well funded public health system -funded by the massive subsidies now going to the private system, this could be avoided. God help us if a Covid wave arrives in Australia.
      Ideology is skewing good health outcomes to Australia.

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