08:00 Tuesday 14 January 2014

'I could have been watching him die' - Witness raises ambulance cover concerns after seeing 'horror' fall

Written byMARK MCKAY

SERIOUS concerns have been raised about ambulance response times to Burton after it took a crew 42 minutes to treat a man with a gushing head injury.

Charity shop worker Paul Machin (pictured) raised concerns after he witnessed a man fall to the floor ‘with a sickening crunch’ on the junction of High Street and Worthington Way.

The 54-year-old said the injured man lost a ‘phenomenal’ amount of blood from the head injury.

A spokesman from the West Midlands Ambulance Service said the nearest free ambulance was dispatched – from 26 miles away in Cannock.

Mr Machin, of Calais Road, said: “I could have been watching him die in the middle of the road waiting for an ambulance to come.

“He fell and hit his head with a sickening crunch. He was not unconscious but he was loosing a phenomenal amount of blood – it was like something from a horror film.”

The drama unfolded before Mr Machin’s eyes when he drove into town to pick up his 19-year-old daughter Ebony on Saturday evening.

After the man fell Mr Machin said his daughter called the ambulance while he tried to keep the man still.

Three police officers also arrived within 25 minutes who helped the injured man to his feet and comforted him.

Mr Machin said: “I don’t know any first aid so I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted him to not move which seemed like a reasonable course of action.

“He was a real mess. Everybody was standing around waiting for the ambulance to come.

“I could not believe what was happening in a potentially life-ending situation – it’s a joke.

“I think this goes on more than the public realise. I just hope the man is okay.”

The ambulance service spokesman said a response time of 30 minutes was set after triage questions asked over the phone led to the man’s injuries not being judged to be life-threatening.

The spokesman said: “The trust makes every effort to get ambulance vehicles to patients as soon as possible.

“However, on this occasion it did take longer than we would have hoped due to the high level of demand being experienced within the area at that time.

“We would like to apologise for the delay.”

The patient has been invited to discuss the case with the ambulance service’s patient advice and diaison service by calling 01384 246 370.

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