Edinburgh Accies player Ratu Korologa taken to Royal Infirmary in back of estate car after being told he'd wait six hours for ambulance despite injury which left 'foot hanging off'
A rugby player who dislocated his foot on the pitch had to be taken to hospital in the back of his wife’s car, after having been told he’d face a six hour wait for an ambulance.
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The Edinburgh Accies forward Ratu Korologa suffered the agonising injury after he was tackled while his right foot was stuck in mud during the third team match against Watsonians on Saturday, October 16.
After the referee halted the game at Raeburn Place, the captain of the Entertainers team was stretchered into the back of his wife’s estate car by team mates and taken to the Royal Infirmary.
Supporter Jonny Gray, whose son was playing alongside Korologa in the game, quickly rushed onto the pitch to help.
Mr Gray, namesake of the Scotland international player, said he was shocked after he dialled 999 and was told it would be up to a six hour wait for an ambulance.
He said: “You could hear the foot crack. I went to help the coach stabilise him. We both called emergency services. I was shocked to be told an ambulance couldn’t come for four to six hours. They asked if we could get him into a taxi or to a GP. It was upsetting, people just couldn’t believe an ambulance wouldn’t be coming.
"The ref thought we should wait for professionals because nobody was trained to move him. It was hard to know what to do. His wife drove her car up onto the pitch and we converted it into a makeshift ambulance. He was very brave and kept good humour. He must have been in a lot of pain, it was a horrible injury.”
The 59-year-old, from Edinburgh, has branded it a ‘failure’ after a call handler told him to take the player to hospital in a taxi.
"His foot was hanging off, like it detached from his leg,” he said.
"We moved him and tried best to keep it straight but we shouldn’t have had to do that. It’s not acceptable. He safely got to the Royal Infirmary and was treated.
"The system failed this player. It makes me feel worried for the NHS.”
It comes just two weeks after the arrival of soldiers in Scotland to help the service with non-emergency driving work, as part of a move to reduce the pressure on the service which has been stretched to near breaking point by Covid-19 and NHS demand.
Figures show the number of less-urgent ambulance calls that waited more than 12 hours for a response increased 20 times in the past year.
Edinburgh Accies was contacted for comment. The club wished the player a speedy recovery on Twitter following the game.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Ambulance said: “While we are limited in what we can say due to patient confidentiality, we can confirm we received a non-immediately life threatening call on October 16 to Raeburn Place.
"The call came during a period of significant and sustained pressures on our services as a result of Covid-19 and the patient was triaged over the phone by a clinical advisor to ensure his condition was not life threatening.
"All our calls are assessed to ensure the most seriously ill patients are given the highest priority. We are sorry for any distress caused."