Pensioner lay in field unnoticed for hours after fall
A South Petherton pensioner lay unnoticed in a field for three hours after falling on her way home from her doctor.
Vera McKenzie, 83, of Market Square, said she could have died had she remained undiscovered all night.
Her ordeal came to light a week after the Western Gazette highlighted concerns about access to South Petherton Health Centre.
Ms McKenzie slipped as she used a short cut across the field. Unable to get back onto her feet, she lay on the ground for three hours before a passing couple rescued her.
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Ms McKenzie, who walks with the aid of a stick, suffered minor scratches and bruising to her legs.
She said: “It was a minor incident but I kept thinking, what if I had been there overnight?
“I’m 83, I have a heart condition, would I have been alive the next day? That is being very dramatic but those thoughts go through your head.”
She said she initially thought she could cross the field easily and had seen other walkers using the short cut. But the route was in a “disgraceful” condition, Ms McKenzie said.
Fears that more people will have to brave the path have been raised after it was reported that South West Coaches is considering scaling back its number 81 service through the village to South Petherton Hospital and the health centre.
Pharmacist Max Punni said: “The most vulnerable people are finding it harder to use services and find themselves between a rock and a hard place.”
An NHS Somerset spokesman said there were routes to the hospital and health centre with a hard surface and people using other routes did so “at their own risk”.
A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “The footpath across the Pitway field is being surfaced in the next two to three weeks and we are continuing to work with the local landowner to make further improvements to the footpath in the future.”