A SUNDAY league footballer was left in agony for an hour and a half in freezing temperatures waiting for an ambulance after breaking his leg.
Geoff Pearson was playing for Hartlepool team Greensides when be broke his leg in a tackle at around 11am, 30 minutes into his team’s game at Blackhall yesterday.
But after concerned team-mates rang 999 for help, the 28-year-old had to wait until just after 12.30pm before a St John’s Ambulance eventually arrived at the Blackhall Welfare pitch to take him to hospital.
Ambulance bosses blamed the delay on the fact they were busy with other calls and said the St John’s unit was sent to the scene as it was the only one available.
Geoff, who is a chemical worker at Seal Sands, spoke to the Mail as he waited for the ambulance to arrive and described the delays as “shocking”.
His story mirrors a similar situation from a week earlier when Seaton Carew player Paul Dobbings had an hour and a half wait for ambulance after also breaking his leg during a game at Hartlepool’s Grayfields pitches.
Geoff, who lives in Sheriff Street with partner Gemma Hall, said: “I can’t believe this has happened again, just a week after the lad from Seaton broke his leg and had to wait an hour and a half.
“The paramedics got to me pretty quickly and they gave me gas and air and morphine because the pain was unbearable.
“In the end, a lad had to drive his van onto the pitch and I was lifted into the back of that to try and keep warm.
“As I’m talking to you now, I’m still in the van waiting for the ambulance to turn up.
“I just think it is shocking, it’s just not right.
“Goodness knows what will happen if someone ever has a heart attack playing football. I think if that ever happens, they’ve had it.
“The player from Seaton said the same last week, the whole situation is a disgrace and something must be done about it.”
Geoff was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and was having his injury assessed yesterday afternoon.
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We received a call at 11.05am for an ankle injury which isn’t one of our highest priority calls.
“The rapid response vehicle was on the scene at 11.22am.
“The double-man vehicle was on scene at 12.33pm.
“We use a St John’s Ambulance to respond to non-critical patients.
“It was extremely busy at that sort of time in the Hartlepool and Peterlee area as we were inundated with R2 category calls which are chest pains and strokes, which have to take priority and which is probably why the ambulance took a little bit longer than normally expected.
“The St John’s Ambulance wasn’t in the area, but as soon as it became available it was sent.”