A 91-year-old recovering from pneumonia was trapped in an ambulance in searing heat after the doors became stuck.
Sylvia Aspin was being taken back to her home at The Sands care home on Marine Road East in Morecambe on Thursday evening after a three-week stay in hospital.
Mrs Aspin, who had been treated for pneumonia, gallstones and pancreatitis in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, was transported by private ambulance at the request of the hospital at around 7pm.
Temperatures on Thursday reached 21 degrees Celsius, and were still hitting 19 degrees at 7pm.
Mrs Aspin’s daughter Christine Small, who lives in Lancaster, said her mother was traumatised by the incident. She said: “The ambulance got to the nursing home and the ambulance women couldn’t get the back doors open. They had jammed shut.
“In the end they had to ring someone to come out and try to open the doors, but they still couldn’t open them so they decided they had to get mum out of the side door.
“Mum was getting really frightened and frustrated. It was a really hot evening and there was nothing she could drink in the ambulance.”
After about half an hour, paramedics managed to get Mrs Aspin – still on her trolley bed – out through the side door of the ambulance, with the help of about six people, including staff from The Sands. Mrs Aspin, who has been living at The Sands for five years and is a great gran, is now recovering from the ordeal. Her daughter said: “It was a traumatic experience for her and we just hope she will be okay. The ambulance staff said sorry and I don’t blame them for what happened, they did the best they could in the circumstances.”
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust medical director George Nasmyth said: “We are aware of a technical problem with the doors of one of the non-emergency patient transport ambulances last week.
“This issue could not have been foreseen and we apologise to anyone affected.”
Medical experts recently issued warnings about the dangers of leaving people shut in vehicles during hot weather.
The inside of a car can heat up 40 degrees above the outside temperature. This can cause adverse effects to the central nervous system and the heart, health experts say.