JUDY Smith rode shotgun in the ambulance while her husband lay bleeding in the back.
Her fears mounted as the urgent rush to hospital was hampered by inconsiderate and oblivious drivers.
Highfields man Ron Smith, 65, was in a critical condition after an angle-grinder mishap severed a major artery in his wrist on Tuesday morning.
His wife heard his yells and rushed to his side, stemming the "fountain" of blood spraying from his wound with bath towels while she called triple-0.
Her initial panic was somewhat soothed by the operator on the other end of the telephone and within five minutes, paramedics were at her husband's side.
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The race to hospital opened Mrs Smith's eyes to a problem ambulance workers face every day - drivers failing to give-way despite flashing lights and blaring sirens.
"I was in the front seat of the ambulance and the people who did not pull over ... it was horrible," she said.
"Fifty per cent of the people who could have pulled over just kept doing what they were doing.
"It could mean life and death for some people."
Mr Smith was oblivious to the traffic issues but said he too had noticed drivers not giving way to emergency vehicles.
"The ambulance blokes were so good, so calm, even the driver - she turned out to be a female driver, so I can't complain too much, can I?
"(But) people don't seem to get out of the way of ambulances."
Thankfully, Mr Smith was delivered to Toowoomba Hospital's intensive care unit in a relatively stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.
RON Smith was in good humour as he recounted the story of his injury yesterday, bandaged and cringing but glad to be back at home.
He was using a circular saw attachment on an angle grinder to remove the root of a fig tree that had punctured a water pipe in his backyard.
The job was half-done when his hand slipped and his wrist fell under the blade.
"My wife was quick off the mark - probably the quickest she's ever been," he laughed.
Her quick application of pressure to the wound was praised by paramedics for saving his life.
Mrs Smith had originally planned to drive her husband to the nearby Highfields ambulance depot, thinking it quicker than waiting for paramedics. It was unmanned at the time.
Upon calling triple-0 she was advised to wait for an ambulance and to keep the wound elevated - something neither had considered in the panic-stricken confusion.
Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Mark Hancock visited the couple at their home yesterday. The attending paramedics also visited several times in hospital.
"Stay home and wait for the ambulance. At the same time, we will give you instructions," Mr Hancock said.
The offending root was still weighing heavily on Mr Smith's mind yesterday, though he said next time around he might get help with its removal.
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