A pensioner was left severely paralysed after falling over on a bus.
And hospital staff have been slammed for “several failings” in his care.
A complaint by the man’s wife has now been upheld by a national watchdog.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman states: “I am critical that such a degree of failures have been evidenced in this case and individually validated by four separate advisers.”
The man, identified as Mr A, was admitted to Ayr Hospital’s A&E department on January 15, 2010.
He had collapsed and passed out on a bus – but was not “clinically assessed” in hospital for almost eight hours.
In their response to the complaint, NHS Ayrshire and Arran chiefs pointed to a huge backlog of cases for staff that day “requiring doctors to prioritise their workload”.
When Mr A was finally examined he started to complain of a sore spine, so an MRI scan was ordered by medics – but wasn’t available at the hospital over the weekend.
In his report, the Ombudsman says: “I am also critical that MRI scanning at the hospital is available only during ‘office hours’.”
Mr A was then eventually diagnosed with tetraplegia.
A consultant spinal surgeon, who formed part of the independent report, stated: “The making of a definitive diagnosis was hampered by the fact that Mr A was admitted late on a Friday afternoon.
“The hospital has no MRI scanning outside normal 8am to 5pm hours and no weekend scanning.
“It was not until Mr A was scanned on the Monday morning that the confirmed diagnosis of cord injury was made.”
The Ombudsman accepted that delayed diagnosis was not a factor in Mr A’s overall condition.
But he added: “Insufficient imaging such as neck imaging had been undertaken; the quality of the x-ray imaging film was poor; and no correct diagnosis was made when Mr A was in A&E,”
NHS Ayrshire and Arran chief executive, John Burns, insists they are ready to act on the hard hitting report.
He said: “We have received the Ombudsman’s report and will, of course, be apologising personally to the family.
“We take findings and recommendations made by the Ombudsman very seriously as we always strive to provide high quality care as part of our drive for continuous clinical improvement.
“We will be conducting a review of this case, and will share the findings accordingly.