AMBULANCE bosses have apologised after a footballer lay in agony for more than three hours with a broken leg.
Marc Whitfield broke both bones in his lower leg – his tibia and fibula – during a tackle in a match earlier this month.
Paramedics were called but the 28-year-old, of Millfield, was left lying on the pitch in Downhill for more than three hours while he waited for them to arrive.
The painter and decorator, who plays Sunderland Sunday League football for Gatsby FC, said he was “screaming” in pain as he lay waiting for paramedics.
“I couldn’t move and I was in so much pain,” he said. “I was sick and I was freezing.
“I would have kept falling asleep if it wasn’t for my team-mates and my fiancée.
“She was holding my hand but she couldn’t actually do anything, and she couldn’t look at it.” He added: “I don’t understand why they couldn’t send an ambulance car at least – I’ve seen people break their leg before and then an ambulance car.”
A member of Gatsby FC called 999 just after the accident happened at about 11.10am on Sunday, September 14.
Approximately five more calls were made by members of the opposition, Redhouse Last Orders FC, and the match referee.
But paramedics didn’t arrive until after 2.20pm.
Gatsby FC secretary, Ben Davis, who was the second person to call the emergency services, said members of both teams were angered by the delay.
“People kept saying how stupid it was that he had been lying on the floor for so long,” he said. “All we could give him was water in case he had to have surgery.
“We couldn’t move him. We kept asking how long it would be when we rang, and we just kept getting the same answer: Just as soon as possible.”
Marc, engaged to Ashleigh Swinhoe, 25, had to undergo surgery due to his injury where metal screws were inserted into his leg, which can take four to six months to heal.
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We are sorry that in this case, we were not able to provide as timely a response as we would have liked.
“We were called at 11.21am.
“Unfortunately, due to an exceptionally high number of potentially life-threatening calls, we were unable to have an ambulance on the scene until 14.23pm.”