Elderly Woman Injured in Hospital Told to Call Ambulance

Oct 20, 2011 11:53am

A hospital would seem the safest place to get hurt, but that assumption proved false for 82-year-old Doreen Wallace of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

When Wallace fell and broke her hip earlier this month in the lobby of the Greater Niagara General Hospital, she assumed she would be quickly taken care of, but that was not the case, according to the Toronto Star.

Instead, she was told to call an ambulance.

“It was horrible. It really was,” Wallace told the Star. “Everybody who walked through the door stopped and stared at me.”

Wallace had been leaving the hospital after visiting her ailing husband when she fell. As she lay face down on a metal grate with a cut arm and broken hip, two nurses from the emergency room reportedly refused to help until paramedics arrived.

“I was inside the hospital,” Wallace said. “Why did they have to wait for an ambulance to come and pick me up?”

Wallace spent almost 30 minutes on the ground before a passing surgeon moved her into a wheelchair to await help.

“I was floored,” Wallace’s son Mike Wallace told the Toronto Star. “We’re probably, maybe, like a 50-yard walk, literally down to the emergency department.”

The hospital said the situation was the result of a communication problem among staff members and possibly an old rule that required an ambulance to be called, according to the Star.

“I was disappointed this week to learn of a situation where a family did not receive the standard of care they deserved after their mother fell in the entrance area of our Niagara Falls site,” Niagara Health System Supervisor Dr. Kevin Smith wrote in a statement.

“In response to this latest incident, and to ensure clarity to all members of our health care team, I have conveyed to NHS leadership that our policy for response to any visitor in distress will be to ensure a rapid response and transport to the most appropriate clinical setting,” Smith wrote.

Wallace is recovering and waiting for an apology.

“All I want is that if this happens again, nobody’s treated like that,” she said.

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