Paramedic tells court how his lifelong friend was killed when he fell out the side door of an ambulance
A PARAMEDIC told a court how his lifelong friend was killed when he fell out the side door of an ambulance as they transported a patient.
PJ Cahill who was driving the ambulance on the Cavan to Dublin Road said he heard a thud and looked in a mirror to see his 43-year old friend, and father-of-six Simon Sexton, hit the ground.
Mr Cahill (50), from Kilnagarbet, Stradone, Co Cavan, has launched a High Court action for nervous shock as a result of witnessing the accident.
He said he jammed on the brakes and ran back to find Mr Sexton lying face down near the grassy verge.
Three years ago the HSE was fined €500,000 for health and safety breaches as a result of the paramedic's death in June 2010.
Mr Cahill's counsel, Frank Callanan, said the case would centre on the side door.
Mr Sexton had seen a crack of light at the top of the side door and went to secure it as the ambulance was moving with a patient and a nurse in the back as well, counsel said.
The side door of the ambulance did not open in the direction of forward travel and that was the immediate cause of the death of Mr Sexton, he said.
In 2007, there had been an accident with an ambulance from the same batch in Kerry which had a similarly fitted door, he said.
Mr Cahill told the court when he radioed in to the Cavan Ambulance Service that a paramedic had fallen out, there was" for a second" silence at the other end before he was told another ambulance was being dispatched to the scene.
"I grabbed the resuscitation bag. I started resuscitation and kept it going until the ambulance arrived."
He said he travelled in the second ambulance attempting to resuscitate Mr Sexton until they reached Cavan General Hosptial where a consultant had been put on standby. Mr Sexton was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
Mr Cahill has sued his employers the HSE and the German manufacturer of the ambulance, Wietmarscher Ambulanz Und Sonderf Ahrzeug GMBH.
The claims are denied by both defendants.
The court heard the paramedics were transferring a patient to St James Hospital Dublin and were only 15 minutes outside Cavan when the accident happened.
The case continues.