83-year-old woman was refused treatment because she’s too old
Susan Halbert, 83-years-old, fell outside her house in Newton Mearns, Renfrewshire. She broke her arm in two areas.
After paramedics where called, the pensioner was taken to Glasgow’s New Victoria Hospital. In the minor injury unit, she was greeted by a receptionist who informed her that she could not be treated as she was over 65-years-old, Mrs Halbert told the Daily Mail Online.
Both Mrs Mrs Halbert and the paramedics were stunned to hear that. It was a highly unusual statement that neither of the paramedics, nor the patient, have heard before.
Rather than be free to help other people, the paramedics had to take Mrs Halbert to a busy A&E at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The 83-year-old waited four hours for triaged and further 2 hours to be treated. She was given a splint and was sent home.
This is only one of many mistakes made by the over-stretched NHS. The same hospital failed to treat Pauline Cafferkey, an Ebola survivor. Miss Cafferkey visited the out-of-hours service complaining about feeling sick in 2015.
While volunteering in Africa, Miss Cafferkey contracted Ebola and was given an anti-sickness injection.
After coming back home, her condition deteriorated. She was later flown to the Royal Free Hospital in London to receive treatment.
In November 2018, five hospitals run by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had to cancel operations after experiencing issues with their surgical decontamination unit. The New Victoria Hospital was one of them.
Patients were also affected at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Stobhill Hospital and Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary. This was due to closure of the Cowlairs decontamination unit in Springburn. It is estimated that over 140 patients were affected.
An apology has been made to Mrs Halbert, by the health board, over the so-called misunderstanding. They state that there is no upper age limit at their Minor Injuries Units (MIUs).
On the other hand, they point out that their MIUs does not treat more serious conditions, like Mrs Halbert’s. They believe she must have required to be seen at the A&E. However, the unit should be equipped to deal with limb injuries.
Even if the patient showed up at the incorrect unit for her injuries, this does not explain why the receptionist made any remarks about the pensioner’s age. The question is if she was instructed by the hospital to turn away patients over 65 years or if she herself did not know the correct guidelines.
If it was the latter, the receptionist should be informed of the exact rules. If it was the former however, this presents a big issue that cannot be ignored.
Patients should not be discriminated by their age. Elderly people can experience more complications from the most minor of injuries. They should not be turned away when seeking help.
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