Ambulance bosses have apologised after a bedridden woman ended up being taken to hospital in a taxi after a five-hour 999 mix-up.
Marjorie Camsey cannot walk and suffers from severe pain and bladder problems after the multiple sclerosis (MS) she was first diagnosed with in her 20s returned in April.
The 66-year-old mother-of-one was left suffering after her catheter bag became blocked, leading partner David Tindale, 73, to make arrangements with the ambulance service to take her to Sunderland Royal for an afternoon appointment.
But when the vehicle turned up, its driver said he could not take a wheelchair, leaving the couple upset.
David, who himself has health problems including arthritis and is in remission from bladder cancer, said he stressed to the service it would need to be able to take Marjorie in a chair or stretcher when he made the booking.
Now the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has apologised for the delay, which led to David calling a wheelchair-friendly taxi to collect Marjorie after waiting for five hours for a response for the right vehicle.
We would like to apologise for the delay in reaching the lady concerned, which we understand must have been very distressing both for he and those around her.Claire Mills, patient transport service business manager for NEAS
That was despite 999 calls from David, Marjorie’s district nurse team, doctor and the hospital and promises a blue light dispatch was on its way to David’s Philadelphia home.
David, who is semi retired as a church organ builder and has been Marjorie’s partner for more than 30 years, said: “I said over the phone it would need to take a chair or stretcher because she’s bedridden.
“It’s been awful, it really has.
“A man from the ambulance service has been in touch and spoken to us so that it won’t happen again.
“They have been very helpful and he’s said if anything happens again, to ring him in future.
“I feel very reassured that it’s not going to.
“What upset us was there was no compassion and she was in pain.”
After reaching hospital following the difficulties on Monday, October 19, Marjorie was treated, but had to return the next day for more care after the problems meant she missed her 1pm appointment and the unit’s consultant urologist.
David added: “The driver just walked out but should have made sure another ambulance was on its way, but he didn’t.”
Marjorie had been well after recovering from her first attack of MS when she was younger, but had to spend more than three months in hospital following its return in the spring.
It has left her incontinent and she also suffers problems with her bowel, with the condition leaving her hands in pain.
A water infection has also affected her health and David has set up a bed for her in the front room because she cannot walk.
Claire Mills, patient transport service business manager for NEAS, said: “We would like to apologise for the delay in reaching the lady concerned, which we understand must have been very distressing both for he and those around her.
“We have launched an investigation and have already met with her to obtain a statement.
“We have now also carried out an assessment to ensure we have the correct information for future bookings.”