Ambulance delays leave elderly woman with broken hip for nearly two hours

Headshot of Indigo Lemay-Conway
Indigo Lemay-ConwaySound Telegraph
88-year-old Sheila Lowles recovering in Rockingham General Hospital's rehabilitation ward.
Camera Icon88-year-old Sheila Lowles recovering in Rockingham General Hospital's rehabilitation ward. Credit: supplied

An elderly woman had to wait for almost two hours for an ambulance to arrive after she fell in her house and broke her hip.

At 8pm on October 28, Sheila Lowles, 88, tripped and fell in the hallway of her Rockingham home. The fall caused her to break her hip, which she later had to have a full hip replacement to fix.

Her son and primary carer Kirk Lowles said he rushed over to help her and quickly called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

“She was just walking down the hallway when she lost her balance and fell over. She was screaming out in pain so we rang the ambulance straight away and tried to keep her comfortable until they arrived,” Mr Lowles said.

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“But it took them over an hour and a half to get here.

“They rang twice in the hour-and-a-half period to see how she was getting on, but Mum was just screaming in pain the whole time.

“I was staggered. I couldn’t believe how long it took them to arrive. When I spoke to them on the phone they just said that they were sorry but they didn’t have anyone available.”

This comes after new figures revealed St John Ambulance paramedics spent more than 5400 hours waiting to transfer patients to hospitals in October, the second-worst month ever for ramping.

“The guys that came were really nice and Mum loved them, but I just want to make people aware of what time they may have to expect if they’re in an emergency,” Mr Lowles said.

“If it does happen to other people, they should speak up so we can shine a spotlight on this problem”.

Ms Lowles is recovering in the rehabilitation ward at Rockingham General Hospital.

St John WA has been contacted for comment.

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