Ambulance crew 'would not lift 15st woman'

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The Independent Online
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AN NHS trust has launched an inquiry after a 15-stone woman was left on a stretcher by a kerb because an ambulance crew would not lift her into their vehicle.

Sheila Barber, 36, was left for 40 minutes outside her house in Chard, Somerset, before another crew arrived. The first crew, a man and a woman, allegedly said they were not fit enough to lift her. One had recently returned to work after a shoulder problem and the other after a back strain.

Mrs Barber was making a scheduled trip to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, for treatment for a disabling muscle disorder.

Her husband Monty, 46, said he had complained to the West Country Ambulance Service NHS Trust, but had not yet received a reply.

'This was humiliating for my wife. She had to lie under a blanket for 40 minutes while people watched from windows or passing cars.'

A trust spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to comment until the inquiry was completed.