A&E tells stunned man to ring 999 from hospital car park to get help for elderly mum

A stunned Willenhall man was told to dial 999 to get help for his elderly mother who had suffered a fall – while she was sat right outside A&E.

Gary Hicken waiting for an ambulance while in the A&E car park
Gary Hicken waiting for an ambulance while in the A&E car park

Gary Hicken rushed his 82-year-old mum Eileen to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton after she had taken a tumble and suffered a hip fracture in New Invention Square on April 16.

But when he went inside for help getting her inside the emergency department, he was told there was no one to help him as staff were not insured and he would be better off calling 999.

New Cross Hospital said it would review the incident and apologised to the family.

Mr Hicken said: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“I had gone in to reception to explain what had happened and said I just needed someone with experience to help lift her out of the car without doing further damage to her leg and hip.

“But I was told there wasn’t anybody there to help as they were not insured.

“Then they said the best thing I could do is ring 999. I said, ‘you’re having a laugh, aren’t you? Seriously, I should dial 999?!’ My first thought was ‘this isn’t right!’ I’ve never heard anything like it.

“I had tried to save wasting time and resources for ambulances and New Cross is only 15 minutes away from New Invention but sadly, it didn’t work out like that. This really needs to be reviewed.”

After going back outside to the drop off point where he had parked up, Mr Hicken called emergency services and waited around six minutes for paramedics to arrive.

Eileen Hicken

He said: “The operator asked me where I was and when I said outside New Cross A&E, she asked me to repeat it. She then said, ‘you want an ambulance?!’

“I explained that I had been told to call them and she said she hadn’t heard anything so daft in her life. The two paramedics who came seemed shocked too.”

Mr Hicken and his mum had gone to New Invention Square to pay some bills for the funeral of his father Brian, which had only taken place four days earlier.

When Mrs Hicken fell, people from nearby shops and the bus stop came over to help and she complained that she wasn’t able to put weight on her left leg.

But as she wasn’t crying out in pain and she could wiggle her toes, Mr Hicken received help to gently put her in his car and take her to hospital.

He said: “You could see my car from the reception window as I was right outside.

“I just wanted someone qualified to help me as I didn’t want to risk doing any further damage getting her out.”

He said Mrs Hicken has had an operation for a partial hip replacement and is currently undergoing physiotherapy at the hospital, adding she is in good spirits.

New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton

A spokeswoman for New Cross Hospital said: “We cannot comment on individual cases but will look into this further.”

“We would like to apologise to Mrs Hicken and her family for any upset and distress this may have caused.

“We will ensure that all staff are aware of the process if someone presents at our emergency department in this way in the future.”

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called to New Cross hospital at 1.53pm on April 16.

“We sent one ambulance crew to the scene who assistant one patient, a woman, from a car and into the hospital for further treatment.”

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