Friday 24 January 2020

Surgeon rushing to 'save someone's life' fined for careless driving

Medani was driving at 110kmh in a 50kmh zone through the city centre. Stock Picture
Medani was driving at 110kmh in a 50kmh zone through the city centre. Stock Picture
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

A surgeon rushing to University Hospital Limerick to "save someone's life" was fined €200 for careless driving at Kilmallock Court.

Mekki Medani (32) of The Strand, O'Callaghan Avenue, pleaded not guilty to the offence. The senior registrar admitted that he was speeding after he received an out-of-hours call that a woman was "critically unwell and needed immediate resuscitation".

The court heard the patient later died.

Garda Brian Duddy said he was parked on Bedford Row in Limerick city at 12.50am on Wednesday, February 24, 2016.

"I observed a car travelling at high speed. I immediately followed the vehicle up O'Connell Street. There were a number of pedestrians in the area. He narrowly avoided hitting an ambulance at a junction," Gda Duddy said.

Medani was driving at 110kmh in a 50kmh zone through the city centre, Gda Duddy said.

"After Bobby Byrnes (pub) he increased his speed to 135kmh in a 50kmh zone on O'Connell Avenue. There were a number of vehicles travelling in the opposite direction. I activated the blue lights for Mr Medani to stop, which he did," Gda Duddy said. "I cautioned him to the manner of his driving. He said he was a surgeon on his way to accident and emergency to perform an emergency resuscitation. He showed me his documentation and was allowed to continue his journey."

Brendan Gill, solicitor for Medani, put it to Gda Duddy that traditionally Tuesday nights were the quietest of the week, traffic was quiet and the number of pedestrians was quite low.

"Yes," Gda Duddy said.

Mr Gill produced a map, saying O'Connell Street was an extremely straight street and Medani had the right of way.

"Yes," Gda Duddy said.

Medani took the stand and said he was the senior registrar on call for surgery on the night in question.

"If I am required after midnight I receive a call. On that night I received a call that a lady was critically unwell and needed immediate resuscitation and surgery if required," Medani said, adding that he reacted "with haste".

A letter from a consultant in University Hospital Limerick confirming a lady was critically unwell was handed into court. The court heard the woman passed away 12 hours later.

Mr Gill put it to Medani that time was of the essence.

"Most certainly," Medani said.

"How long were you detained?" Mr Gill said.

"About five minutes," Medani said.

Judge Marian O'Leary said there were no exemptions for careless driving and expressed concerns that Medani would not have been able to react if an incident arose. She used her discretion not to disqualify Medani and fined him €200.

Irish Independent

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