Public ignore pensioner who collapsed in the street

December 2, 2010 | by | 3 Comments

A frail pensioner who collapsed in the street nearly died of hypothermia after passing members of the public ignored him – for nearly FIVE HOURS.

Public ignore pensioner who collapsed in the street

Great-grandfather Brian Courtney, 77, was walking to his doctor’s surgery when he fell unconscious on the pavement in central Salisbury, Wilts., at 8am.

But shockingly, hundreds of pedestrians and motorists breezed past him without offering help until someone finally dialled 999 at 12.40pm.

When paramedics arrived minutes later his body temperature had fallen to 26 degrees C and he was on the brink of death.

The retired gardener, who suffers from a kidney condition, was rushed to intensive care where doctors were amazed he had survived the ordeal.

Today Mr Courtney’s furious family slammed the heartless shoppers who ”stepped over” the unconscious pensioner.

Daughter Karen Paddington, 42, a care home worker from Salisbury, said: ”I can’t believe that nobody stopped to help him.

”It was only just above freezing and hundreds of people must have walked or driven past him.

”I’m always reading how kind people in Salisbury are but they left him unconscious on the pavement for four hours.

”It makes you question how caring people really are here. I hope reading this pokes people’s consciences if they just stepped over him.

”This has been terrifying for our family especially my father.”

Mr Courtney had driven to Salt Lane car park last Wednesday (24/11) and was just 200 yards into the walk to Castle Street doctor’s surgery when he collapsed in Bedwin Street.

The one-way street is lined with shops and pubs near the city’s main High Street and it is thought hundreds of pedestrians and cars would have passed him.

He developed advanced hypothermia as his body temperature dropped to 26 degrees C – 11 below the normal body temperature of 37 degrees C.

It was not until 12.40pm – more than four-and-a-half hours later – that a worried passer-by finally called an ambulance.

A crew from the Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust arrived within two minutes and rushed Mr Courtney to Salisbury District Hospital where he was treated in intensive care.

He was later transferred to the renal unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth where he is currently undergoing intensive dialysis.

It is not known if the great-grandfather, who lives in warden controlled accommodation in the city, will recover fully from his ordeal.

Married Mrs Paddington added: ”It makes me think that we all have a responsibility to stop and make sure that someone is all right especially when it’s that cold.

”Even if you think they might be drunk or sleeping rough you could still pop back to make sure they are ok or call the emergency services if you are worried.”

She appealed for the Good Samaritan – thought to be a worker who spotted Mr Courtney on their way to work and again on their lunch break – to come forward so she could thank them.

A spokesman for the Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust confirmed that the pensioner had been lying in the street for a ”considerable” time.

He said: ”We received a 999 call at 12.40 last Wednesday to an elderly patient suffering from hypothermia.

”The man was thought to be in his 70s by the caller. He was in the advanced stages of hypothermia.

”The call was classed as Category A which meant the condition was immediately life threatening. It was a high priority call.

”A crew arrived at 12.42 and delivered the patient to Salisbury District Hospital.”

Mr Courtney remains in a stable condition at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

Category: News

Comments (3)

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  1. Brostar77 says:

    What is wrong with people nowadays? I would have been right over to offer my assistance this really is an appalling lack of consideration by the general public in Salisbury. Every single person who passed this old gentleman by should be ashamed of themselves let’s hope the same thing doesn’t happen to a relative of theirs. Shocking.

  2. Madamepuddingqueen says:

    What does it matter whether he was drunk a down and out or whatever, he was a human being and had the right to be treated accordingly, SHAME on all those insensitive people who turned their back on him. Anon from Australia

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