By Mandy Oakham
A Drysdale man says he drove to hospital doubled over in agony after hearing he faced a “minimum“ four-hour wait for an ambulance.
Ross Brown’s ordeal prompted Ambulance Victoria to launch a review of the incident, the service confirmed to the Indy.
Mr Brown said a nurse on call told him he must go to hospital immediately after he found himself in agonising pain and unable to pass urine on 16 July.
But he was advised the wait for an ambulance would take at least four hours, Mr Brown said.
“I just don’t understand why it would take so long. After all, we’re only about 30 minutes from the city – we’re not out in an isolated country area.
“I just couldn’t believe it when the guy said a minimum of four hours. I told him I had no way of getting in there unless I drove myself.“
Mr Brown decided on driving to hospital to avoid the wait but had to stop several times along the way for fear of passing out at the wheel, he said.
“It was hell,“ he told the Indy.
“I had to keep pulling over because I thought I was going to lose consciousness.
“My wife doesn’t drive and we’re new to the area, so there was no one around at that time of night who I could get to drive me in.”
Mr Brown continued receiving treatment and further tests this week as he recovered at home.
Mr Brown decided to speak out after last week hearing “politicians in the media talking about how ambulance waiting times were down“.
Mr Brown said he complained about his treatment in an email to Bellarine MP Lisa Neville’s office but telephoned her office “at least“ a week later after hearing nothing back.
A staffer told Mr Brown the office had passed on his letter to Health Minister Jill Hennessy, he said.
Ms Neville’s office confirmed receiving the complaint and forwarding it to Ms Hennessy for further investigation.
Ambulance Victoria confirmed to the Indy that it would review Mr Brown’s case.
Mr Brown said an official from the service contacted him this week.
“He must have apologised 10 times.“
Ambulance Barwon South West acting regional manager Anthony De Wit confirmed the service had been in contact with Mr Brown.
“We understand the distress and the concern of the patient and we’ve been in touch with him to discuss this matter,” Mr De Wit said.
“Ambulance Victoria can confirm that on July 16 we received a triple zero call for a man with lower abdominal pain. All triple zero calls for ambulance are individually assessed and our priority is to ensure emergency ambulances are available to respond rapidly to patients who require life-threatening and emergency treatment.
“Based on information provided by the patient, his condition was not assessed as requiring an emergency ambulance. As such the call was transferred to an experienced paramedic in our referral service for further assessment.”