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Paramedic no show

NIGEL MOFFIET
Last updated 05:00 14/05/2014

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Charlotte Loraine
Nigel Moffiet
LUCKY ESCAPE: Charlotte Loraine is praising the actions of her son Mackenzie for keeping her calm and wrapping her wound after she sliced her hand open. 

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Eleven -year-old hero Mackenzie Loraine could well have saved his injured mum Charlotte's life after an ambulance failed to turn up at their Auckland home quickly enough.

St John ambulance has apologised for its delayed response to the accident that left Charlotte bleeding profusely after she fell and sliced open her arm on a broken glass cup she'd been carrying.

But it's Mackenzie's fast thinking that saved the day, his mum says.

The mother-of-two got up after the fall and says "blood was spraying everywhere".

Mackenzie heard her out and got a shock when he saw the state she was in.

"I just thought she wanted me to come in and help her with something but then I saw a massive gash in her arm ... I thought she was going to die or something. I thought the worst case scenario.

"It looked like a murder scene. There was blood scraped against the wall, everywhere on the floor, on the fridge ... I was stepping in it ."

Charlotte was supposed to be home alone that night but her son cancelled plans with his friends and stayed with her.

Her husband was out watching rugby at Eden Park and her daughter was away with a friend.

"I would have been by myself ... you go into panic mode. I could feel myself panicking and that's when things could have potentially been a lot worse."

Mackenzie worked hard to keep his mum calm, wrapped her arm and reminded her to keep it up. He called his dad and then rang 111 for an ambulance.

"They were saying, 'can she breath, is she conscious, how is she, is she drowsy, is she still fine ... they told me to keep calm ... they told me to wrap her arm ... blood was everywhere," he says.

He reckons he waited about 30 minutes before calling the ambulance a second time.

"I called them back and said 'where are you?' They just told me to calm down and later they still weren't here."

Charlotte feared the operator didn't appreciate how serious her injury was.

"I spoke to them myself and said 'look this is bad, I need someone to come immediately'."

Mackenzie was thinking of knocking on a neighbour's door when his dad arrived at their Manurewa house, cancelled the ambulance and took Charlotte to Middlemore Hospital.

She spent three days there and underwent a five-hour operation to re-attach nerves and rejoin the artery and tendons in her arm.

"The amount of blood that I lost ... they told me had I carried on bleeding for much longer I would have completely passed out.

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"I will take about two years to heal and only have 80 to 85 per cent movement in my hand. It will never be the same as it was before."

She's full of praise for her son's actions.

"He was so calm; I don't know how he was as calm as he was. It's not a nice thing for a boy to go through.

"I didn't know what to do because I was so panicked," she says.

"He did all the right things and was really brave."

A St John spokesperson says it's not clear what caused the delayed response.

"The call was initially coded as 'not serious or life-threatening' but was upgraded to 'potentially serious but not immediately life-threatening' upon a clinician's review during the incident.

"St John is currently investigating the decisions that led to a delayed response for the incident.

St John has an urban target of 50 per cent of immediately life-threatening incidents responded to within eight minutes and 95 per cent of these incidents responded to within 20 minutes," the spokesperson says.

St John district operations manager Doug Gallagher met Charlotte last week to offer an apology.

Meanwhile Mackenzie has gained a bit of a reputation at Gardens School where he is a pupil.

"All the office ladies call me a hero."

- Manukau Courier

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