A Good Samaritan who helped rescue an elderly woman after she fell on to Metro tracks says she told him she had been making her way to hospital after being refused patient transport.
Firefighter Dougie McQuillin, from Jarrow, jumped onto the tracks with another man to lift her to safety after the incident at Jarrow Metro Station yesterday morning.
Mr McQuillin said: “She told us that she’s partially-sighted and, when she heard the Metro come into the other platform she thought it was on her side and began walking.
“She told us that she was on her way to see the eye doctor at the RVI, in Newcastle, but had been refused patient transport and had no choice but to get the Metro.
“I just don’t think it’s right that she was left to get to hospital on her own.”
The woman fell onto the tracks into the path of an oncoming Metro just before 8am.
A train was approaching the station and was just a few hundred metres away.
It was forced to stop while passengers rushed to her rescue, helping her back up onto the platform.
Metro Control Room was alerted of the incident by the Metro driver and also by passengers at Jarrow Metro station via the emergency call button.
Paramedics were called and they treated the woman at the scene before she was then taken off to hospital in an ambulance.
A Metro spokesman said: “A female passenger had a fall from the platform at Jarrow Metro station on Tuesday morning a few minutes before 8am.
“An approaching train a few hundred metres from the station saw what had happened and was halted for a brief period of time while the woman was helped back up. We are grateful to the other passengers for providing assistance before the ambulance arrived. The woman was taken to hospital for treatment.”
A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 7.53am and dispatched an ambulance which arrived on scene at 8.08am. We took one patient to South Tyneside District Hospital.”
She was checked over and released.
The other man involved in the rescue told of how the dramatic moment unfolded.
The man, who wished only to be known as Paul, said: “I was stood on the platform looking towards South Shields and I saw the Metro coming in. I turned back to look the other way and I saw her fall onto the tracks.
“I didn’t even think about it,I knew the train was coming and I had to get her out the way. Luckily it stopped.
“Another guy, a fireman, jumped down after me and we picked her up together and got her back onto the platform.
“She was very shaken up. I’m a first aider and we stayed with her while she waited for the ambulance.”
Dr Hambleton, Chief Officer at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are very sorry to hear about this incident, and for any distress that the lady has experienced.
“We would encourage the patient to contact us with further details so that we can look into the patient transport issue on her behalf.
“When a patient makes a request for transportation, a telephone assessment is undertaken to determine if they have a medical need for transportation. Patients are able to appeal eligibility decisions if they feel that they have extenuating circumstances that may not have been considered during the assessment.
“If a patient would like to appeal, they can contact the Patient Transport Appeals Team for review. The appeals team can be reached by phoning 0300 323 0199.”