Category Archives: Aged

A 93 year old Wellington man who fell & broke his hip, left alone by Free Ambulance staff & told to call his own doctor!

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This story I heard very recently and is clear evidence of the downturn our once caring nation has taken since the advent of Neo-Liberal economics courtesy of the now ‘Sir’ Roger Douglas. This is a corporate mindset that displays no empathy or care for the vulnerable. It is heartless and cruel. It is about not so much the players in these events, as the government policies that dictate how they act. It is also about how those heartless policies are shaping the current workforce. The company in question here has apologized, however, in my opinion it is a sign of things to come. Caused by the company’s policy in the guidelines around falls, I have nevertheless seen a similar scenario recently in the UK where people are now charged a £26 lifting fee for a fall (NZ$47). Earlier this year there was a man in Christchurch denied service whose fall was deemed non life threatening by St John’s Ambulance. As we know, the tentacles & misery of Neo-lib economics is planet wide now. Elsewhere these cuts are called austerity measures. Always there’s a new fancy name invented by these people for plain old greed. This is Agenda 21/30 people. Already in NZ.

We’ve seen all this growing in our midst in recent years like an ugly cancerous growth on the face of humanity. By increments it is grabbing up all the state homes built by our forefathers and hocking them off for private profit, lining developers’ pockets. Selling off our clean water for pennies to offshore corporations to make a mint from, while fobbing us off and slow poisoning us with heavily chemically treated water supplies. Polluting our waterways with impunity and stopping their ears to the fact that we now have very damning health statistics (child poverty & teen suicide). It is also a mindset that disregards the elderly, after all they’re not considered economically productive, which is what ‘matters’ to the corporate. These corporates however, forget who climbed out of bed at night and fed them when they could neither walk, talk nor feed themselves. And for no wages either.

So here is this veteran who faithfully served his country in World War Two,  and continues to serve in other ways, yes until very recently, still delivering meals on wheels to fellow elderly, falls and breaks his hip and this is the response he gets.

This gentleman, (in the words of his family), a “93-year-old veteran of world War Two, is a very active and clear minded man, involved in community and church service. He fell and broke his hip last December 29th 2016, managed to crawl back to his bed and activate his alarm system to alert the neighbours to call the ambulance.”

The ambulance attended him, but declined to take him to the Emergency Department at the hospital, instead telling him to go to his doctor. AND THEN LEFT HIM!

The man’s family was two hours drive away. How could he get to the doctor in his condition? He couldn’t walk, or drive, let alone manage the internal house stairs to use his own toilet.

As this man’s family pointed out in their letter to the ambulance service, “he had spent 5 years fighting for New Zealand to protect our human rights – against the practice of eugenics that Hitler and his Nazi regime were practicing, only now to be rewarded with selective health care at the hands of medical personnel who enjoy the
freedom of our land today because of men like him”.

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Men who served in World War II now discarded by a health system that considers them not worth the expense [20th Bttn Egypt 1941: Wikipedia]

An explanation was sought by family as to why this man was “left in his hour of need, and denied access to the medical attention that he needed … that could have so easily been provided, from a country’s health system that he has paid taxes for, for most of his life. He never deserted New Zealand in her hour of need”.

“Your investigation of this matter would be greatly appreciated”, wrote family, “and an improved practice developed for your ambulance staff to provide the service that they are employed to perform without prejudice, preference or neglect.”

Here is the abbreviated response received from the Free Ambulance Executive Manager:

“I would like to start by saying I am sorry that your father did not receive the level of care that we expect of our service. l have reviewed all the circumstances of the case and based on his presentation, I agree that we should have transported your father to hospital. Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics use guidelines to inform the care they provide, and the guidelines in use at the time of our visit to your father did not include information about what is best practice when treating a patient who has fallen. This resulted in them not making the best decision for your father. On l June we implemented new guidelines which do now specifically include a section about
helping patients who have fallen. Under the new guidelines, it would have been very clear to the paramedics that your father should have been taken to hospital. I understand that this does not change the outcome for your father, however we expect it to prevent a similar thing happening to anyone in the future. I would like to apologize to both your father and yourself, as the care that he received was not of the standard it should have been. Wellington Free Ambulance takes pride in the care
that we provide to our patients, however in this case we have not got it right.

Going by the ambulance service manager’s  written response, it appears the ambulance staff had followed guidelines to the tee and did nothing wrong by the book. Those guidelines clearly did not include at the very least assisting him to contact further help or waiting with him until help arrived. The “book” has now been tweaked accordingly to allow for the legitimate helping of a “fall” patient, given staff do not appear to have the mental capacity to think beyond the book. A sense of compassion and plain common sense is just not present.

These people ABANDONED an elderly man, leaving him alone in his bed where he could well have died if he had had no people looking out for him.

Policy guidelines dictated their response and not human compassion. This is how far we have sunk. People neither think for themselves nor exercise lateral thinking any more. And a trite apology from the Executive Manager in my opinion is just not good enough. How many other people have been left in a similar plight and died? We will of course never know the answer to that. I would add though, in small town NZ this would in my opinion be unlikely to happen. The people I know who work for St John’s Ambulance in country districts offer a fantastic, caring service, and by largely unpaid staff. It is in the cities that things begin to get impersonal as it did recently in a Christchurch incident involving the fall of an elderly man.  An interesting twist to this scenario is that the elderly living in rural towns have long felt the pressure to move to the city where there are more accessible health and emergency facilities.

The Hon. Annette King  was also contacted informing her of this incident in Wellington, and apart from an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter in February this year, the family are still, four months later, awaiting a reply from the Minister herself. Such is the importance of elderly war veterans.

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Neo-Lib economics clearly considers some sections of society as expendable

This story has really shocked me. The abandoned man was also a friend of my own late father who also served in World War Two. They had worked together in the building industry following the war. In a similar vein, my father in his early 80s, was taken off a hospital waiting list for a life extending operation without even the courtesy of a letter or phone call. They just wrote him off with the stroke of a pen and left us to ponder innocently at why the wait was so very long. (I was more trusting in those days). There comes a point on corporate waiting lists that some are just not worth spending money on.

Again, these people need to stop and consider who climbed out of bed at night and fed them when they could neither walk, talk nor feed themselves. Without charge. 

“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
Mahatma Ghandi

EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

 

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Nobody thought of the elderly in Foxton’s main street upgrade – what’s new?

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Negotiating the road crossing with no curbing leveled to a ramp for the elderly with walkers

Aside from the fact HDC is hocking off the pensioner housing stock, how will the elderly fare with the new Foxton main street upgrade? Having observed the elderly walking along the main street over several days, it seems the clever people who designed the upgrade forgot to factor them in. It’s common knowledge that Foxton has a high ratio of older citizens. And yet, watching them negotiate the main street currently is very interesting. This dear lady in the above image had to lift her walking frame over the curb before she could proceed across the road over the stones. Now if you are in need of a walking frame you are, one could safely conclude, unsteady on your feet. So lifting the frame over a guttering then stepping over it yourself could be quite a risky venture.

So if it’s temporary, what’s the problem? Take a look at that curbing. It has no ‘ramp’ or leveling from the path down onto the road as one would normally find on a foot path, enabling a smooth transition onto and off of the roadway. And they are making the street safer? Really? There’s not a ramp in sight so this appears to be permanent. And worse, where will the mobility scooters negotiate the crossing? At the public presentation by HDC a woman did speak up about this (weeks ago now). She had witnessed near accidents with people and their walkers sliding downwards on the gravel towards the gutter. This really isn’t all rocket science people. Who designed this upgrade & where did they get their credentials? One of those purchase online degrees perhaps?

Another gentleman spoken to on the street recently told us he had had a similar omission of a ramp to enter his drive. The new curb was built right across his drive way and he had to press for them to change it, and they did, but what an unnecessary cost having to re do it? How many other driveways have they ‘plastered’ over like that? 

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No ramps on either side of the street for the elderly to cross with either walking frames or a mobility scooter

Then there is the entrance to the swimming pool. They’ve placed a garden area right at the entrance so if an ambulance needs access, well, they will just have to park up the road a bit and run a bit faster when they hit the pavement.

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The entrance way to the swimming pool is now blocked with a garden making ambulance or other access more difficult … and this upgrade’s about safety

Check out further articles on these issues at our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu. (You will also find articles under ‘categories’). Because councils are now companies (check Dun & Bradstreet’s website) then their focus, like any company’s, is profits not people. Particularly not elderly people, going by this street fiasco. Their affordable housing is on the way out, what is next? There was a quick consult about the sales also (except Iwi by the looks … the OIA request we got on that had no evidence of it … in spite of their policy on Iwi relationships espoused on their website) … and people I know who attended said their anti sale views were quickly squashed. They were also given a very nice dinner I’m told.

The current contracts will apparently remain the same, but remember they’re still selling off the family jewels and the next set of tenants will of course have raised rents. Companies aren’t in business for love … the current council already raised the rents considerably since becoming a company. That’s all in the nature of neo-liberal economics … sell off the stock these old people helped build and if we go the way of America, offer them end of life counseling.  What these people need to remember is they too will grow old and their fortunes are not foolproof.

I did omit to mention, the new Mayor who actually cares about old people, and who is and always has been against the sale of these flats, has been removed from the committee that is discussing the sales (see Horowhenua Chronicle 1/3/17) … because he has a conflict of interest, that is, he doesn’t agree with selling them. That gets rid of any pesky bias towards keeping them and presumably it’s going to help pay down the $70 odd million debt (the official figure, it’s said to be much higher) the same establishment accrued in recent years.

EnvirowatchHorowhenua