Pensioners' terror as wheel falls off ambulance during 999 hospital dash
AN ambulance lost its wheel and nearly tipped over as it took an elderly couple to hospital.
The ambulance had its blue lights and siren on as it took Richard Greenhalgh, aged 79, to the Royal Bolton Hospital with chest pains.
Mr Greenhalgh’s wife, Margaret, aged 74, who was with her husband in the ambulance, suffered bruising to her chest and back in the crash and also ended up in A&E.
It is the second time an ambulance has lost its wheel in Bolton this year and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has launched a full investigation.
The couple’s daughter Janet Crawford had earlier dialled 999 when her father — who suffers from angina — started having chest pains.
It was later confirmed he suffered a heart attack, although it is unclear whether this happened before or after the road accident.
A crew was sent to Mr Greenhalgh’s home in Graythwaite Road, Doffcocker, where paramedics decided to take him to Royal Bolton Hospital.
As reported in The Bolton News last week, the emergency vehicle was travelling along Victoria Road, Heaton, on September 21, when its back twin wheels fell off — causing it to tilt and swerve around the corner.
A replacement ambulance was sent to take the couple to A&E.
The female paramedic driving the vehicle managed to hold onto the steering wheel and prevented it from rolling onto its side.
Ms Crawford, aged 53, who had arranged to meet her parents at A&E, said: “My parents said they felt the vehicle wobble and then the wheel spun off across the road.
"It unseated my mum and she ended up trapped between the chair and a metal bar inside the ambulance.
“I have no complaints about the paramedics themselves. They were absolutely fantastic. If the paramedic had not held onto the steering wheel, it would have tipped over onto its side.
“The driver was really shook up, I saw her in A&E. It must have been awful for them to because their job is to save lives and then something like that happened.”
“My mum was terribly shocked by the incident,” added Ms Crawford.
“I’m just angry because I don’t how this could have happened and my mum ended up in A&E on Friday night along with my dad. I just want to make sure this never happens again.
“It’s a heavy vehicle and the wheel just fell off. Whoever is responsible for this needs to be put to task. It just feels like they have tried to play it down and that’s not good enough.”
This is not the first time a wheel has fallen off an NWAS vehicle.
In January 2012, a wheel fell off an ambulance in Tonge Moor Road, when taking an 81-year-old lady to hospital following a fall.
NWAS said it has launched a full investigation into the latest incident.
A spokesman said: “One of our ambulance’s rear near side twin wheels malfunctioned and came away from the vehicle.”
The family are understood to now be taking legal action against NWAS.
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