A TEENAGE Bangor footballer was forced to wait hours for an ambulance after she sustained a severe concussion at a match.
Faith Naylor, had to wait three hours for an ambulance to arrive at Londonderry Park, in Newtownards, after the young player was severely concussed due to a collision with another girl.
Fifteen year-old Faith was playing a semi-final match with her teammates from Ards Rangers against Ballynahinch Olympic FC last Wednesday when shortly into the second half of the game, she was knocked out for around 15 minutes following a clash of heads.
Faith’s mother Jenny phoned for an ambulance a number of times after the incident which she later described as ‘the most frustrating night of my life’.
“My daughter was playing in a cup match, against Ballynahinch and about five or 10 minutes into the second half she sustained an injury between the neck and the head, which led to her being completely unconscious for about 10 to 15 minutes,” said Jenny.
“Two nurses thankfully were there, one from Ards Rangers and another nurse from the other team. They came straight over and accessed the situation.
“We phoned the ambulance straight away, because we knew that it was quite serious. They basically just said on that call that they were very busy and if any changes were to happen to notify them.”
Coming to, Faith complained of intense nausea and blurred vision and her mother said her eyelids were flickering. Faith was feeling cold so a foil blanket was put on the teenage footballer.
“All of her wee team mates ended up taking off their coats so she was lying in the middle of the field covered in foil and all her friends’ coats,” Jenny recalls.
“We phoned again the ambulance and said to them ‘listen, Faith is deteriorating here’, but were told that more emergencies had come in, so she would be put back down the list. But again, if anything changed, to ring back.
“There were more changes, so we rang back again. I asked how long this was going to be, and they couldn’t give me any timeframe whatsoever.”
After the second call for an ambulance, a brother of one of Faith’s teammates, who worked for the Ambulance Service, assessed the situation, stating that the teenager should not be moved due to her injuries, he recommended that the emergency services must be called again.
“He said there was no way that this child could be moved so we had no choice but to wait on that ambulance. We weren’t in any fit state to get her up ourselves,” says Jenny.
“I phoned again, and again they couldn’t give me a timeline. They said it could be hours, they just wouldn’t know. She lay on the ground like that for three hours in the middle of Londonderry football pitch,” said Jenny.
“I don’t know what way they categorise these things but to me a 15 year-old child lying with a head injury is an emergency,” she added.
Eventually an ambulance arrived and Faith was taken to A&E at the Ulster Hospital, where it was discovered that she was suffering from a severe concussion.
“The doctor assessed my daughter and actually thought she could have possibly had a bleed in the brain,” explains Jenny.
“Thankfully it was not, just a severe concussion. In A&E, she was seen quite quickly, because I think they knew that she had been laying out in the ground for so long.
“She got out of hospital at 8am the next morning. I can’t even remember how long we were in the ambulance, or how long we were in the hospital. It was the most frustrating night of my life.”
For now, Faith’s footballing season is over as it will take four to six weeks for her to make a full recovery.
Jenny has shared her appreciation and thanks to Ards Rangers for their ‘aid and steadfast support’ that evening.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service apologised for the wait and stated that current pressures faced by the health service can impact response times.
“NIAS regrets that, on occasion and because of a lack of available resources, the patient had to wait longer than would normally be acceptable and beyond the target time for their call,” said a statement.
“We apologise for this delay but, at the same time, would assure the public that we will always seek to ensure that the most immediate response possible is provided to those patients whose clinical need is greatest. We will continue to work with our partners across the HSC system to find solutions to this issue and will continually review all areas of NIAS operations to enhance call response.”