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Cot death baby's family 'may sue' over 999 mix-up

A COUPLE who lost their only son to cot death is considering suing the Health Service Executive over the delay in getting an ambulance to their home.

Three-week-old Morfeusz Chlamtacz's family waited for over half an hour for an ambulance to come to their Tralee, Co Kerry home.

It later emerged that the Ambulance Control Centre in Dublin had dispatched an ambulance to a similar address in Cork city.

The infant was pronounced dead at Kerry General Hospital (KGH) in the early hours of June 18 last year.


An inquest into his death found he died as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, more commonly known as cot death, for which there is no definitive cause.

Weeks prior to his death, the ambulance control centre for Kerry had been moved from its Tralee base to Townsend Street in Dublin.

The ambulance was dispatched to the Tennis Village on the Model Farm Road in Cork instead of the family's address at the Tennis Village in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Morfeusz's mother, Katarzyna, made the emergency 112 call after she noticed her baby was not moving and was cold.

At the time of the tragedy, the HSE accepted that there was a "delay in locating the patient".

But a representative added there had been some difficulty in understanding the caller because of her traumatised state and poor English.

The family is originally from Poland but had been living in Tralee for a number of years.

The baby's father, Sebastian, was in Poland when the tragedy occurred.

The couple also have two girls, Kora (3) and Tola (6).

"When I rang my wife on Sunday evening at 5pm everything was okay, but the doctor said that he stopped breathing when he was asleep," Mr Chlamtacz said at the time.

When the ambulance did arrive it already had an elderly patient on board and baby Morfeusz and his mother were transported to KGH in the back of another vehicle.

The family's solicitor, Damien Cashel, confirmed to the Herald yesterday they were now considering legal action against the HSE.

"Before we can proceed or comment further we require time to consider the outcome of the coroner's report, the medical records and we need to analyse the recording of the call," Mr Cashel said.


"But at this point in time it does appear likely that we will be proceeding further as it's a case of grave public concern and importance.

"It is wholly unacceptable in this day and age that a tragedy such as this can occur," Mr Cashel added.

It was not the first incident where ambulances have been sent to the wrong locations.

Last year, an ambulance was sent to Cloghane in west Kerry instead of Clahane in Ballyduff in north Kerry, some 60km away, to deal with a two-car collision. An ambulance was also sent to Listowel instead of Lispole, 69km away.