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Monday 24 September 2018

Tragic MMA fighter death led to Irish Red Cross revising its ambulance protocol

Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho (R), in the ring with Charlie Ward, before tragic death of the father of two Photo: Dave Fogarty
Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho (R), in the ring with Charlie Ward, before tragic death of the father of two Photo: Dave Fogarty

Robin Schiller

The Irish Red Cross revised its protocol on how its ambulances are operated after tragic MMA fighter Joao Carvalho was transferred to hospital on the floor of a vehicle while in a critical condition.

The 28-year-old Portuguese national became ill after a bout in the National Boxing Stadium on April 9, 2016, and was pronounced dead two days later.

An inquest on Thursday heard how Mr Carvalho was transferred to hospital on the floor of an ambulance, which the Irish Red Cross said was an "isolated incident" and that its members were advised by EventMed personnel. A spokeswoman for the charity said that a review was carried out in the wake of the incident and that revised protocols were issued.

"The incident involving Mr Carvalho was an isolated incident; on the night in question the Irish Red Cross volunteers were operating under the clinical direction of a medical team installed by EventMed who took responsibility and put Joao Carvalho into the Irish Red Cross ambulance.

Shane Ross says MMA leaders are ‘dragging their feet’
Shane Ross says MMA leaders are ‘dragging their feet’

"In line with statutory guidance, clinical lead rests with the highest clinically qualified personnel present.

"In the aftermath of the incident the Irish Red Cross conducted an internal review and issued revised protocols in relation to the operating of Irish Red Cross ambulances and the involvement of event medical agencies in such," the spokeswoman told the Irish Independent.

The charity extended its sympathies to Mr Carvalho's family.

EventMed owner and paramedic Kate Michlic told the inquest this week that it was her decision to place Mr Caravlho on the floor for the transfer.

A report by Sports Ireland on a working group with the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA) has also raised questions on how events can be regulated without a formal body.

MMA is not yet recognised in this country, with Sports Ireland president John Treacy stating efforts have been made for MMA leaders to "get themselves organised" since 2014. Sports Minister Shane Ross accused MMA leaders of "dragging their feet" to establish adequate safety standards.

Mr Ross has also described the absence of a national governing body for the sport in Ireland as "unacceptable". "It is absolutely crucial the sports bodies do everything they can to protect the safety and welfare of their members," he said.

Irish Independent

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