Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Was Left in Agony for 11 Days without Any Help and Feel Badly Let Down by the NHS' Pensioner Left in Pain after Breaking Spine

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Was Left in Agony for 11 Days without Any Help and Feel Badly Let Down by the NHS' Pensioner Left in Pain after Breaking Spine

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

A PENSIONER was left to suffer alone and in agony with a fractured bone in his spine. Widower Peter McLaren, 77, said he endured 'excruciating' pain from the undetected back injury, but was left to cope completely unaided at home over the New Year period, after an ambulance paramedic and two GPs failed to admit him to hospital.

During his ordeal - which began when he fell out of bed during the night at the house where he lives alone - he had to survive on a diet of crackers and tap water because he was unable to get up to the toilet.

Eventually, 11 days after suffering the injury, he was taken by ambulance to Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington, Northumberland, where an X-ray revealed he had fractured a bone in his spine.

Mr McLaren, a retired electrical engineer of Beach Terrace, New biggin-by-the-Sea, spent six days in hospital and is still taking morphine to ease the pain from his back.

Last night he said: "I was left in agony for 11 days without any help and feel badly let down by the NHS. I paid into the health service for 51 years and feel I deserve better treatment than I got."

Mr McLaren, who plays golf and is a member of a pipe band, dialled 999 for an ambulance after falling out of bed onto his back in the early hours of December 28.

A paramedic who checked him over said he had bruised ribs or pulled a muscle and did not require hospital treatment. Two days later the pain in his back was so bad he could not get out of bed to go to the toilet, so he contacted the Lintonville Medical Group in Ashington, where he is a patient.

He was visited at home by a GP who said he had suffered bruising and prescribed stronger painkillers. There was no improvement, so a different doctor called two days later and again offered him painkillers.

Mr McLaren said: "By January 8 I had been confined to bed and physically incapable of going to the toilet for 11 days because of the muscle spasms in my back. …

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