Driver for doctors sues over stress and bullying
A FORMER driver for doctors on emergency calls has brought a High Court action for damages, claiming that he wasn't properly prepared for scenes of human suffering and death.
Martin Fahey (45), of College Avenue, Clonmel, Tipperary, is suing Carlow Emergency Doctors on Call Ltd, of Athy Road, Carlow, which employed him as a driver between May 2001 and April 2003.
He claims that he was repeatedly exposed to "traumatic scenes of human suffering" while attending traffic accidents, deaths and suicides.
Mr Fahey further alleges that he was subjected to bullying and that his employer was negligent in not preventing this.
The claims are denied by his former employer.
Mr Fahey says he was obliged to drive at dangerous speeds and in many respects "perform like an ambulance driver", even though he had received no training for this type of work.
As a result, he suffered from stress and was deeply disturbed by some of the scenes he had to attend. He suffered nightmares and flashbacks and continues to suffer, it is claimed.
In evidence yesterday, Mr Fahey said: "I didn't know what I was getting into."
On one occasion, he was called to a suicide, where he saw a man hanging. He said he had to deal with the families in these situations but had not been instructed in how to deal with this.
He was diagnosed by a consultant psychiatrist as suffering from anxiety disorder and was put on treatment.
Mr Fahey returned to work towards the end of January, 2004, but was unable to cope. He is now on disability benefit.
It is claimed that the stress suffered by him during his employment precipitated health problems.
The case continues.