Thursday 19 October 2017

Paramedics refused to board boat due to lack of life jackets

Brian McDonald

AMBULANCE paramedics refused to board a boat on the Shannon to treat a person with seizures because they did not have life jackets.

The young adult who was ill had to wait until a fire crew with life jackets arrived and took the casualty onto a jetty before the ambulance paramedics would start treatment.

When the paramedics responded to a call last week to attend a medical emergency on board a boat at the marina in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, they told those on board that they could not go onto the boat because of health and safety regulations.

Despite being offered life jackets by those on the boat, the ambulance staff had to await the arrival of the local fire brigade, who were equipped with life jackets.

The incident at Carrick-on-Shannon has left many paramedics confused after the HSE said it was not the policy of the National Ambulance Service to carry life jackets.

The chairman of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, Michael Dixon, said ambulance staff in the south-east have been carrying life jackets in ambulances for the last eight years, and have been told it is mandatory to wear them when attending calls to any water-based vessel.

In a statement, the HSE said that its ambulance staff were not permitted to carry life jackets.

"This is due to the risks associated with the overall management of this type of equipment to ensure its readiness for use. The service relies on other response agencies who have specific training in water-based incidents to assist at these types of incidents."

Irish Independent

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