Monday 23 July 2018

Paramedic refused to respond to cardiac arrest call - because he wanted to take a break

Stock picture
Stock picture

Patrick Flynn

A National Ambulance Service (NAS) paramedic refused to respond to a cardiac arrest call, even though he was requested to do so by controllers.

Questions over details of this and another incident involving the same paramedic were put to the ambulance service but its management said it did not comment on individual members of staff.

However, in an apparent contradiction of this policy, the NAS last month did comment on another incident involving a different paramedic who left a colleague stranded at a filling station 100km from base and drove off.

Angry members of staff have now come forward with details of an incident which they say "casts a dark shadow over the [ambulance] service".

Staff added that such incidents "tarnish the good name of committed paramedics".

In early August 2016, a paramedic had completed an inter-hospital transfer call in Dublin and was returning to base when he was requested to respond to a cardiac arrest call.

The paramedic refused to answer the call, claiming he had not had a break.

However, according to ambulance service sources, it is believed that the paramedic had left a McDonald's restaurant a short time earlier.

Ambulance controllers use a process of "dynamic deployment" which, they say, ensures that the closest available resource is tasked to each emergency call.

It's understood that the ambulance was the closest to that particular call.

The crew was contacted by radio by ambulance controllers and requested to respond.

The paramedic, who was driving the ambulance, was urged by his supervisor to answer the call but refused.

Ambulance paramedics are calling for a full investigation.

According to sources, the same paramedic has been panelled for promotion to advanced paramedic grade where, with advanced life support (ALS) training, he will make critical clinical decisions.

A NAS spokesperson told the Irish Independent: "It should be noted that all complaints are taken seriously and that there are internal processes and procedures for dealing with allegations of this nature."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News