Sports clubs in Melton have been urged to always have a first aider on standby after a young cricketer who dislocated his knee waited in vain for more than two hours for an ambulance to arrive because his injury was not considered a priority.
Lewis Postle was comforted by team-mates as he lay in agony on the Egerton Park CC pitch after being injured while batting for Thorpe Arnold CC.
His mother, Nicola, called for an ambulance on two occasions but was told there were no crews available because of a high number of call-outs to patients with more serious conditions.
Eventually a crew of Melton firefighters attended to give Lewis painkillers and help rotate his knee back into position so he could be taken to hospital by his mother.
The match was abandoned because of the delay.
Lee Brentnall, Leicestershire ambulance operations manager for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), told the Melton Times that those patients experiencing a life-threatening emergency such as cardiac arrest or breathing difficulties had to be seen first.
He said Lewis’ condition was not a priority at the time it happened, on the afternoon of Saturday July 14, adding: “First aid can, and does, save lives, and so we always recommend that organised sports clubs have a suitable qualified first aider on site.
“First aiders can treat minor injuries such as this and sometimes convey patients to hospital where appropriate.
“This is especially important during the current heatwave as sports grounds are much harder and so there is a higher risk of injury.”
EMAS said Lewis was assessed over the phone by an experienced nurse in one of their 999 control centres and he was not considered to have a life-threatening injury.
Mr Brentnall: “We are sorry we were unable to get to the patient sooner on this occasion, and we recognise the pain and discomfort this will have caused him.”
Lewis is now recovering at home with his knee in a protective brace, and using crutches.
His mother praised the way players supported her son as he waited in ‘extreme pain’ and the firefighters who attended to help. She accepted there were more pressing emergencies for ambulance crews to attend to on the day, but voiced concern that Melton appeared short of cover.