Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ambulance Carrying Grandfather in Agony Stops to Pick Up Hitchhikers

*Glenn Buscombe picked up by paramedics following severe pain in leg
*He was suffering from life-threatening blood clot and feared amputation
*But just minutes later, ambulance driver stopped to pick up hitchhikers
*'Bedragged' woman climbed into back of vehicle, while man got in front
*Woman then started asking grandfather questions about his condition
*Shockingly, driver stopped for second time to drop pair off at a garage
*Mr Buscombe, 60, said: 'It was a race against time - I could not believe it'
*South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust investigating complaint

Writhing in agony in the back of an ambulance, all Glenn Buscombe could think about was getting to hospital as quickly as possible.

But it seems his driver had other ideas.

To the 60-year-old patient’s amazement, the speeding ambulance stopped on a dual carriageway... to pick up two early morning hitchhikers.

The door then opened and a woman in a short skirt who ‘looked a bit worse for wear’ climbed into the back with Mr Buscombe while her male friend got into the front.

The driver gave the couple a lift to the next town before taking Mr Buscombe on to hospital in Plymouth.

The retired carpenter – who was suffering with deep-vein thrombosis – was then told by doctors he might have to have his right leg amputated.

But after being transferred to another specialist hospital unit, medics managed to restore his blood flow with injections.

The grandfather is now recovering at home in Polperro, Cornwall, from an operation to repair his blocked artery and has complained to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust about the alleged incident on April 6.

His ordeal began when his leg started swelling up and his doctor, who had made a late house call, phoned for an ambulance at 12.15am.

Two paramedics arrived around 45 minutes later and helped Mr Buscombe into a seat in the back of the vehicle.

They set off along the A38 dual carriageway towards Plymouth, driving at speed but without their blue emergency lights flashing.

Home: The medics helped the grandfather into an ambulance outside his home (pictured) in Bodmin, Cornwall. But just minutes after setting off, the vehicle reportedly pulled over - and a male and female hitchhiker got in

Retired carpenter: Shockingly, the woman then started asking Mr Buscombe questions about his condition

Mr Buscombe, who has three grown-up sons with his wife Sandra, said: ‘I was in terrible pain.

‘We were going at quite a speed when the ambulance came to an abrupt stop.

‘All of a sudden the door slid open and there was a girl standing there in the roadside. She looked a bit worse for wear and bedraggled.

‘She was just wearing a skirt and a blouse despite the fact it was foggy and raining.

‘Then a man got in the front seat. They looked like they’d had a few beers and missed their lift back home.

‘The woman started asking me all sorts of questions – who I was, what was wrong with me.

‘I said, “How the hell do I know, I haven’t been to hospital yet”. I couldn’t believe what was going on. The paramedic in the back with me looked as confused as I was.’
Destination: Mr Buscombe said the ambulance's route to Plymouth Derriford Hospital (above) was further delayed after the driver stopped to drop off the hitchhikers at a garage. He is now recovering at home

Mr Buscombe says the ambulance carried on driving before it reached Saltash and pulled over again, where the two hitchhikers jumped out at a garage.

The vehicle then continued on to Derriford Hospital.

Mr Buscombe said: ‘It was a race against time to save me and my leg and yet the driver was messing around giving people lifts – it’s just not on.

‘If he was worried about these people he could have called the police.

‘The girl didn’t even say goodbye or thanks when she got out. There are a lot of valuable drugs in the back of an ambulance and for all he knew these two could have been armed with a knife or something. I wouldn’t want anyone to lose their jobs over this but it cannot be allowed to happen again.’

It is believed the ambulance may have stopped because the crew thought the couple had been in a road traffic accident, or may have been at risk because of the bad weather. However an ambulance service spokesman said details would not be disclosed until the investigation was completed.

The spokesman added: ‘The Trust takes all complaints seriously and has started an investigation to establish exactly what happened.’

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