Great-grandmother forced to share ambulance with stray dog
The NHS has apologized to a great-grandmother after she was forced to share an ambulance with a stray dog. Brenda Wilding was being rushed to hospital on an emergency call, when paramedics stopped en route to pick up a ‘cold wet’ Labrador by the road. The 86-year-old claimed she spent the remainder of the journey vomiting while a paramedic tried to stop the ‘hyper’ dog from leaping onto her. On November 12, the pensioner called 999 with severe stomach pain relating to a gallbladder condition. But while driving her to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the ambulance pulled over along the A10 in Cambridgeshire.
She said: ‘I couldn’t see much of what was going on but I couldn’t understand what was taking so long. I was left in the ambulance and could hear people talking about a dog. ‘The next thing I knew the paramedic who had been riding in the back of the ambulance with me appeared with a black Labrador and asked if I minded if the dog came too.
‘I was completely baffled. It’s not what you expect in a medical environment, but I agreed. All I wanted to do was get to hospital.’ The paramedics continued the journey to the hospital and Brenda claimed the dog ‘was hyper and tried to jump at her’ while she lay in the back. ‘The paramedic put a whiteboard between me and the dog and held the Labrador away so it couldn’t get at me. I had no idea what was going on,’ she added.
Dr T Davis, Deputy Medical Director sent a letter of apology admitting the actions of the paramedics did not align with trust guidelines. In their account of events, the paramedics stated the dog was ‘friendly, non-aggressive and quite clearly cold, wet and distressed’ when they discovered it. ‘One of the crew members asked if it was OK for the dog to come into the warmth, whilst they made some phone calls to get it help. The patient accepted.’
But Wilding’s granddaughter Justine Butcher said the apology was ‘insufficient and laughable’. She said: ‘Ambulances are supposed to be sanitary places and Nan could have had any number of infections when they let that dog in.’ A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: ‘We would like to apologize to Brenda and her family for any distress and inconvenience caused. ‘The incident has been investigated and the staff involved understand that their actions were against Trust guidelines and now understand there is no legal responsibility to stop for a domestic dog, even if it is in danger.’