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Ambulance takes two hours to reach stricken GAA player

Kevin Smyth from Lisnaskea Emmets

A YOUNG Lisnaskea footballer and Fermanagh county minor who sustained a serious knee injury was forced to wait almost two hours for an ambulance to arrive and take him to hospital.
Kevin Smyth injured his knee while warming up for Lisnaskea Emmet’s as they prepared to take on Belcoo at Teemore Shamrocks GAA pitch on Saturday evening. 
It is understood that the ambulance was first phoned at 4.50pm, and they rang back at 5.06pm to say that they would be out shortly. The ambulance was then phoned again at 5.45pm and they finally arrived almost two hours later between 6.40 and 6.45pm. 
Gerry Hicks, chairman of Lisnaskea Emmets said, “Honestly it was a joke – The supporters were in disbelief at the length of time it took an ambulance to come. They were out warming up before the match on the field and during the warm up the bone shot out of Kevin’s kneecap, and he was stretched off. 
“We were waiting, and there was no sign of ambulance coming and Kevin was lying in excruciating pain. The match started at 5.30pm and we were in the second half of the game before the ambulance appeared.”
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service have confirmed that an ambulance was dispatched from Enniskillen Ambulance Station at 6.19pm. They didn’t say when the ambulance arrived but Mr Hicks said it was at the scene for roughly half an hour and Kevin was then transferred to South West Acute Hospital, and was released later that evening.
Kevin is now recovering well on crutches but will be out of action for a while. 
Mr Hicks is outraged at the period of time that the young footballer had to wait.
In a statement, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service confirmed that they received a call at 17:03pm on Saturday last relating to an injury sustained by a male at a football pitch in the Derrylin area.
A spokesman for the NIAS said: “The information provided on this call clearly indicated that it was neither life-threatening nor serious in nature and was prioritised as Category C initially. The call was subsequently managed by a paramedic within control who provided advice as to actions to be taken in the event of the patient’s conditioning worsening – NIAS received no information to indicate that this was the case.”
The NIAS said an ambulance was despatched at 18.19pm from Enniskillen Ambulance Station and, after assessment and treatment at the scene, the patient was transported by ambulance to the South West Acute Hospital.
The spokesman added: “NIAS regrets any delay in response but is confident that the communities we serve would support our call priority system in life-threatening situations.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA