Woman who waited hours for ambulance after getting stuck in pallet calls for better communication

PUBLISHED: 11:01 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:01 12 December 2018

Scharrowne Farmer from Newport waited six hours for an ambulance. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Scharrowne Farmer from Newport waited six hours for an ambulance. Picture: SIMON PARKER


A Newport woman whose foot became trapped in a pallet has praised firefighters who stayed with her for six hours while she waited for an ambulance.

But Scharrowne Farmer says less bureaucracy and better communication from the ambulance service could have seen her cut free and on her way to hospital within the hour, instead of having to wait on the floor in severe pain.

Ms Farmer, a self-employed groom, was working at a stable in Great Sampford on Thursday (December 6) when her foot became trapped in a pallet and she fell heavily.

Scharrowne was unable to free herself but, despite the pain, she was able to call 999 for help using the phone in her pocket.

Firefighters from Great Sampford arrived at the scene at about 10.30am, within half an hour, but they were unable to cut her foot free because of fears over possible breaks to her ankle and hip, where she had fallen.

Despite repeated attempts to get an ambulance to the stable, in Sampford Hall Lane, calls deemed more urgent meant that paramedics were continually diverted and Scharrowne remained trapped for six hours.

She was stuck for so long that she used up two full bottles of oxygen, meaning a second fire crew, this time from Dunmow, had to attend and give her a third bottle of oxygen.

In desperation, Scharrowne agreed that she would absolve the fire service of any responsibility and gave them the all clear to cut her free by about 4pm.

She was then eased into a friend’s car and driven to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, for treatment.

Fortunately, she suffered only minor tissue damage and was well enough to return to work the following morning, albeit wearing a protective boot as a precaution.

She said: “I know that there is a lot of demand on ambulances but even if a first responder was called or a GP came out, it would have helped.

“This is too much bureaucracy. The fire service was fantastic but it took two engines off the road and I had eight officers there. I felt terrible and I kept telling them ‘sorry’.”

Scharrowne said it was “mad” that firefighters were forced to wait for the say so of the ambulance service before they could cut her free and said better communication was needed.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We apologise for the distress caused by the delay.

“We were called at 10.46am with reports of an industrial accident in Sampford Hall Lane.

“We would ask the patient or their family to contact us so we can investigate this fully.”

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