In February 2012 my Grandma was out shopping with her sister when she felt faint.
Complaining to her sister that she didn’t feel well, she sat down on a bench in the shopping centre to try and pull herself together but she couldn’t, and she did lose consciousness. So there she was, a 78 year old lady, lying unconscious on a bench in a shopping centre.
A passer-by called an ambulance who came out to my Grandma and began to examine her. First job was to move her from the bench to the floor but there was only one paramedic present who arrived in one of those ambulance cars – the big ambulance was still en route.
A security guard from the shopping centre stepped in to help move my Gran to the floor, and the paramedic began their examination and treatment.
Whilst on the floor my Grandma came round, and immediately shouted out in pain. The pain was in her left arm, but it wasn’t there before she passed out.
The paramedic gave my Gran a tablet to put under her tongue and one to put in the side of her mouth and they then transferred her up to the nearest hospital, believing she’d suffered an angina attack. They handed my grandma over to the hospital staff and went on their way.
She’d been at the hospital for a short time when I arrived with some other family members. She looked grey. All the time we were there she only complained about the persistent and immense pain in her left arm, and that she felt sick. She didn’t complain of anything else.
The hospital staff sent my Gran for an X-ray on the arm and discovered that it was broken close to the shoulder. Plastering wasn’t an option so she was put in a brace and we went home.
Since that fateful day, my Gran’s life has changed forever.
My aunt and I have given up our jobs to become carers for my Grandma because she can do very little totally independently these days. The bone in her arm has never fully healed and has only knitted back together very slightly. It will never be of much use to her again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s improved over time but it’s now at the stage where it won’t get any better but will, in fact, worsen over the years as strain is put on the few fibres that did knit together.
Have you ever had a broken arm? It’s really surprising how debilitating it can be.
Changing a bed? Not possible.
Lifting a pan of boiled vegetables? Too heavy.
Showering? Not unattended, and with only one arm and unsteady legs.
I could go on and on.
So you see, things have changed – and not for the better.
May be wondering what all this has to do with the title of this blog post. Let me tell you.
My Gran did not have an angina attack that day.
She fainted due to low blood pressure.
She had no pain in her arm when she was on that bench.
She did not fall.
My Grandma swears that she heard an exchange between those people that moved her onto the floor, with one asking what had happened to her arm and the other replying, ‘I think we did that’.
I have written nothing here that isn’t factual.
So we sought advice, we hired legal support, we fought the NHS, and we lost.
Not enough evidence, they said. Nothing was noted on the paramedic report and the CCTV from the shopping centre was obscured.
Now my Grandma – who has been independent all of her life, who raised 3 children and 7 grandchildren, who was always going shopping, on trips out, jumping on the bus into town – is disabled and relies on us to do the most basic of things for her.
How is that just and fair?
No wonder they fought so hard to avoid admitting any liability for my Grandma’s injuries.
I am no lawyer, but I believe what my Grandma tells me and so I feel that she has been denied compensation that really would have made her life easier and that could’ve helped towards the cost of some of the adjustments that have had to be made to her home.
I will continue to look after her for as long as I need to, and I hope that if mistakes were made that day, then those at fault have that on their conscience.