Published: 00:01, 22 February 2016
The family of an 84-year-old left in pain after he was unable to pass urine say they are "incensed" that an ambulance was not sent to him when he called 999.
Grandad-of-five Edward Arnold, 84, called for help after waking in distress, but claims he was hung up on after an operator deemed his case was not a serious emergency.
His family said he was in no state to drive and his wife has Alzheimer’s so was unable to help. He was eventually taken to the QEQM Hospital in Margate by his son, Colin.
Another son, Peter, of Mandarin Lane, Herne Bay, said: “My father woke up and couldn’t pass any urine – he tried and tried and couldn’t go.
“After a few hours it started to get quite painful and uncomfortable. They said they only deal with emergencies but he said it was an emergency.
“What really got to us was my father swore under his breath because of the pain he was in.
“He apologised but the guy put the phone down on him – this was an emergency 999 call.”
Mr Arnold, from St Peter’s, near Broadstairs, had to have a catheter fitted at hospital.
Peter, a retired BT engineer, added: “I worry if he did not have my brother close to him what would have happened then.
“He could have been left to collapse in pain. I worry about other people who don’t have any family support.
“At the end of the day, if someone is in urgent need of an ambulance, they should be seen.
“They should have said to him 'we can't get to you straight away' but they weren't giving him that option – they were treating him as if he was playing a prank."
South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman Rich Airey says they have been in contact with the family.
He said: "We take all concerns raised seriously and have recently been contacted by Mr Arnold's son. We are sorry that he is unhappy with the level of service provided.
"Based on information provided, the call was not categorised as a serious emergency and was handled by a clinician over the phone who advised him to contact the primary care service for the area.
"We will look into these concerns further and report back to the family directly."
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