Elderly man found days after fall

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter helped a Waiheke Island man who appears to have lain on the floor for days.
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Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter helped a Waiheke Island man who appears to have lain on the floor for days.

A Waiheke Island man in his seventies appears to have lain on the floor for days before being flown to hospital yesterday.

A Meals on Wheels volunteer noticed the man had not picked up a meal delivered on Monday and called emergency services on Wednesday, Waiheke Health Trust general manager Julie Cairns said.

The man was last seen out and about on Monday, Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter intensive care paramedic Ross Aitken said.

It is possible he spent three days on the floor, before being found by police and St John Ambulance staff yesterday afternoon.

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"This is a really positive story of someone in the community noticing something out of the ordinary and raising the alarm," Aitken said.

"If they had not done this, he could have been on the floor for a lot longer."

The rescue helicopter flew the man to Auckland City Hospital at about 4.30pm in a "conscious but confused state". 

He had no significant injuries, but was taken to hospital for evaluation, Aitken said.

"We're not too sure why he ended up on the floor, whether he fell or had a medical event."

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Cairns said the incident was a good reminder for the community to keep an eye out for elderly people.

"There are often little indications that might raise concerns," she said. 

Aitken agreed, but said care for the elderly needs to be balanced with allowing them space to live their lives.

"If you go too far, you take away elderly people's independence - it's part of them maintaining their dignity," he said.

The rescue helicopter flies about 350 missions a year to Waiheke Island, which is a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland.

 - Stuff

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