31 Mar 2014

Woman waited in agony for ambulance

8:31 pm on 31 March 2014

A woman who dislocated her knee was forced to wait more than an hour for an ambulance to arrive while screaming in agony, her husband says.

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Karen Archer suffered the injury in her Wellington home and collapsed, screaming, as she got out of bed.

Husband Graham Archer said he rang emergency services four times to get help but that the operator dealing with the incident dismissed his wife's pain.

"The lady proceeded to ask us question after question after question, like she was ticking off a box of pre-set questions she had to ask," Mr Archer said.

"So I put Karen on the phone and she said 'please help me, please help me', and the woman actually told me off for doing that."

Wellington Free Ambulance spokesperson Daniel Paul said the operator should have sent an ambulance immediately and transferring the call to a nurse to decide was the wrong decision.

"Karen's injury was judged not to be immediately life-threatening, and the call was sent off to Healthline. It should really have resulted in an immediate ambulance dispatch."

A Wellington Free Ambulance representative would visit the Archers on Monday to apologise, and the the organisation was conducting an inquiry into the incident, Mr Paul said.