“I really thought I was going to lose her”: Woman’s six hour ambo wait for injured Mum

An 89-year-old Grandmother was forced to wait for nearly six hours for an ambulance after a fall in her Gold Coast home.

Shirley Prestipino fell and broke her hip in two places in her Worongary home on Monday last week.

Her daughter, Tina Barber, was thankfully there and called for an ambulance about 1.30pm, but Ms Prestipino wasn’t put on a stretcher until just before 7.00pm.


Ms Barber says she feared for her Mother’s life as the hours waiting for help ticked by.

I was really angry and I still am really angry that something like that can happen here in Australia, in Queensland,” Ms Barber tearfully said.

“When you can watch someone you love pretty much die in front of you after ringing a service that’s supposed to be for emergencies. It’s broken, it’s completely broken.”

The day the incident occurred turned out to be Queensland’s fourth-highest volume of triple-zero calls in state history.

Ms Barber made several calls to triple-zero to check where they were and says her Mother lay in agony the whole time, unable to be moved.

“She was twisted, her leg was all underneath her and her head was smashed against the wall,”

“We couldn’t even straighten her to make it more comfortable.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says the day of Ms Prestipino’s fall was an unprecedented day for Queensland’s health system.

“We know what happened over those 24 hours, we know people were waiting for longer than they should have,” Ms D’Ath said.

“It is concerning that that occurred, but it was a very very unusual circumstance in that 24 hours.”

Shadow Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Ros Bates says Queensland is in the midst of a health crisis, citing the main problem as a lack of beds.

“We needed a 600 to 800 bed hospital in the Northern Gold Coast built four years ago for the population,” Ms Bates said.

“We will have patients die waiting for paramedics to turn up here on the Gold Coast because this Government has no plan to fix ambulance ramping.”

Ms Prestipino is currently recovering in hospital after thankfully having surgery last Thursday, but Ms Barber says the long wait time was traumatising and believes it worsened her Mother’s condition.

“She’s still not good, after spending all those hours laying on the floor in a heap,” Ms Barber said.

“We don’t know what could have happened, that was the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and it shouldn’t happen.”