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Sorry,we should have sent help.

Byline: Joanne Emmerson

Ambulance chiefs have apologised to a teenager after operators failed to send help after he fell and broke his leg in a popular beauty spot.

Tees East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service (TENYAS) launched an investigation after Pauline Suggitt complained when her 17-year-old son Kevin was left stranded near Cod Beck.

Despite emergency phone calls made by his friend ambulance control staff said they were unable to send help as he couldn't give them a road name.

The family has now received a letter from Jayne Barnes, chief executive of TENYAS, who said: "On behalf of the Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service I apologise very sincerely that we did not respond as we should to the call made by your son's friend for an ambulance.

"Whilst obviously it is most helpful to have full location information, it is not essential to know a road name before we can deploy a response, and it is with great regret that we acknowledge that we should have sent an appropriate response based upon the information given by the caller, this, sadly, we failed to do."

The accident happened when Kevin, of Ash Green, Coulby Newham, was cycling with his pal Richard O'Toole, 18.

Kevin got off his bike, climbed a high ledge, then lost his footing and careered down a slope.

Richard dialled 999, and despite explaining he was on the Swainby to Osmotherly Road near Cod Beck the operator told him an ambulance would not be dispatched until he could give a road name, as reported earlier.

Desperate to help his friend Richard rang his mum, Jeanette, who dashed to the scene and took the injured 17-year-old to James Cook University Hospital.

Kevin's leg was badly fractured and doctors suspected he may have suffered internal and back injuries. He underwent surgery on his leg and was kept in hospital for six days.

His parents were furious and fired off a complaint to the ambulance service.

The response from Jayne Barnes said Richard gave the details of the accident, the location and Kevin's condition in a calm and efficient manner.

"We did offer support, but none of this remedies the fact that we did not send an appropriate response, and the reason for it is an internal systems failure which we are dealing with as a matter of urgency," she said.

Mrs Suggitt is now calling for the ambulance service to compensate the teenagers for their ordeal.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 3, 2004
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