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Hockerill Anglo-European College boy, 14, who dislocated his knee in kick-about during school break spent seven hours lying on sports pitch waiting for an ambulance




A 14-year-old boy lay in pain and shock outdoors at school for nearly seven hours after dislocating his knee in a break-time kick-about.

Brendan O’Reilly was playing football with friends on the artificial turf pitches at Hockerill Anglo-European College, in Dunmow Road, Bishop’s Stortford, at lunchtime on Monday last week when the incident happened.

The school rang for an ambulance at around 1.30pm. Brendan was given painkillers but was unable to be moved.

Brendan O'Reilly dislocated his knee at school and had to wait 7 hours for an ambulance to arrive. Pic: Vikki Lince (45580109)
Brendan O'Reilly dislocated his knee at school and had to wait 7 hours for an ambulance to arrive. Pic: Vikki Lince (45580109)

His mum Catherine, of Wilson Close, Bishop’s Stortford, said that despite both her and the school making repeated calls to ask when the ambulance was coming, it did not arrive until 8.20pm.

“By the time they arrived he wasn’t even talking, he was in shock,” said Catherine. “He was lying on the artificial turf all that time. When there’s nothing you can do... it was just shocking.

“It’s appalling that they can’t tell you when the ambulance is going to turn up.”

Brendan O'Reilly lying on the artificial turf at Hockerill Anglo-European College after dislocating his knee (45556764)
Brendan O'Reilly lying on the artificial turf at Hockerill Anglo-European College after dislocating his knee (45556764)

Catherine said the school had been “amazing”. School nurse Mandy Ingham sat with Brendan from the time of the incident all through the afternoon, ensuring he was kept as comfortable and as warm as possible and helping him to stay calm.

She also praised the school’s two nurses, Bea and Dawn. “In addition, Mr [David] Woods, Mr [Alasdair] Mackenzie and Mr [Tom] Coleman provided support throughout the whole ordeal, with Mr Woods staying with us in the freezing cold until he knew Brendan was in the ambulance,” added Catherine.

Ambulance staff put Brendan’s knee back in place on site and then transported him to A&E at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, where the teenager had another long wait for treatment.

After arriving at 9.30pm, Brendan did not get home until 2.30am – and Catherine claimed that was only because husband Charlie suggested to A&E staff he could just have an X-ray and come back the next day.

Wilson Close, Bishop's Stortford. Brendan O'Reilly dislocated his knee at school and had to wait 7hrs for an ambulance to come. Brendan with mum and dad Catherine and Charlie. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45580106)
Wilson Close, Bishop's Stortford. Brendan O'Reilly dislocated his knee at school and had to wait 7hrs for an ambulance to come. Brendan with mum and dad Catherine and Charlie. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45580106)

It’s not the first time Brendan has had a sporting mishap. “A year ago he dislocated his other knee playing basketball on our drive,” said Catherine. On that occasion there was a markedly different response to a 999 call, with seven paramedics in attendance.

Brendan’s latest sporting accident means he is out of action for six weeks and can only move from his bed to the bathroom. Catherine said they had to keep their lively English springer spaniel puppy out of her son’s way.

A spokesman for East of England Ambulance Service said: “We would like to apologise for the long wait the patient experienced.

“At the time we received the call we were experiencing a high demand on our services and had to prioritise patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

“We would like to invite the family to contact our dedicated patient experience team to discuss this specific case if they wish.”

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, where Brendan spent another four-plus hours
Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, where Brendan spent another four-plus hours


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