Great-grandad, 86, waits 17 hours in A&E as family slam ‘rubbish’ system

The daughter of an 86-year-old man forced to wait 17 hours for a bed after being rushed to hospital, said it was a "worrying" sign for the struggling NHS.

Terry Koerber, who lives alone, was left unable to walk after his knee gave way, but on arriving at Leicester Royal Infirmary he found an A&E full of patients on trolleys.

The pensioner had to wait 90 minutes in the ambulance outside before waiting even longer for an X-ray and a bed, which he finally got at 7am, having arrived at 2pm.

His daughter Karen Stone said of the experience: "It was terrible – the system is rubbish," reports LeicestershireLive.

Leicester hospitals said there was "exceptional demand" for beds on the day in question, and apologised to Mr Koerber.

The great-granddad's wife of 60 years, Beryl, is in a care home and so he lives alone in Leicester, needing his mobility to remain independent.

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Mr Koerber collapsed on Boxing Day and his daughter, who stayed with him for part of his hospital ordeal, said he "wasn't in good shape" prior to the accident.

Karen, 59, said she had gone round to her dad's house twice to help out before he collapsed on December 26.

“The next morning I went back and he had no mobility at all, which is not usual for my dad – he’s very active.”

At around 11am, Karen called for a non-emergency ambulance and found seven other ambulances in front of them.

At 11am on Friday, December 27, Karen called the NHS for a non-emergency ambulance to take her father to hospital.

"We just waited there for an hour-and-a-half – all this time the ambulance couldn’t go anywhere else, of course," she explained.

“We were there that long they asked us if we wanted a cup of tea and a biscuit.

“My dad was in pain and he’d only had paracetamol at home and it wasn’t having much of an effect.

“I appreciate there were people in more need of urgent care but it’s worrying the NHS is struggling so much and that the response from staff seemed to be that it wasn’t that uncommon,” she continued.

At about 3.30pm Mr Koerber was taken into a bay in the hospital and had some tests done and he was sent for an x-ray.

Karen, of Barrow upon Soar, near  Loughborough, said it took so long for the X-ray to be done she thinks "they had forgotten us".

“After the x-ray the bay we had been in was being used so they put dad in a corridor with other people on trolleys.”

Karen waited in the corridor with her father until 9.30pm, assuming he given a bed imminently, particularly considering he had not slept the night before due to knee pains.

But at 6.30am the next day Mr Koerber called his daughter to say he was still on the trolley.

Karen said: “He was absolutely exhausted. It was terrible – the system is rubbish.”

Terry came home on Tuesday, January 7, after 11 days in hospital and he made an appointment to have his knee treated at a private hospital.

He said: “I did expect to be waiting quite a while but not that long.

“I didn’t think it would be so busy – there were people on trolleys all over the place. It was pretty rough.

“They’re obviously short of staff and I was surprised how bad it was.”

Before retiring, Mr Koerber ran his own business, TK Enterprises, selling slabs, cement and other building materials, with years of heavy lifting took its toll on his joints.

He suspects a knee implant inserted in 2004 is the reason for his current mobility problems.

The pensioner said: “Although I’m 87 next month I’m active and I want to get it put right so I’ve paid to go private now.”

Rebecca Brown, chief operating officer at Leicester’s hospitals, said: “I am extremely sorry for Mr Koerber’s experience in our emergency department in December.

“This winter we have been experiencing exceptional demand for emergency care. In particular we are seeing many very ill people who need to be admitted. Unfortunately, this is contributing to longer than normal waiting times for some patients.

“We are continuing to do everything we can to provide safe, high-quality care despite the challenges we face and I’d like to thank our staff for their continued commitment and resilience.”

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