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Sick child trapped in ambulance for 40 mins as doors fail

A SICK child became trapped in the ambulance taking him to hospital when the vehicle broke down and had a power failure.

It took 40 minutes to free the youngster, her parents and a paramedic from the ambulance, which broke down 7km from Temple Street Hospital on Saint Patrick's Day.

The child had had been suffering from an anaphylactic reaction but was stabilised before the incident occurred.

The ambulance was on its way to the hospital after responding to a 999 call.

A spokesman for Dublin Fire Brigade, which runs the ambulance service, said it was investigating the incident and took it very seriously.

When the vehicle broke down a large window compartment that was supposed to act as an emergency escape route failed to function.

A fire engine was sent to the scene to assist and a crew member smashed the window of the vehicle, but rescuers were still unable to get inside because they could not get through a perspex screen that was next to the glass.

It is believed the paramedic had to swing from a rail inside the ambulance and kick out the smashed glass panel from the inside to free the occupants.


The child was then safely transferred to Temple Street and later discharged after being treated.

Dublin Fire Brigade told the Herald it was not aware of any similar incidents having happened in the past.

A spokesman said: "Our primary concern is patient welfare and we can confirm that the patient was later transferred to hospital safely."

They added that the fire brigade would be speaking with the manufacturer of the ambulance in the hopes of identifying the cause of the fault in the vehicle, which had been sent out from Kilbarrack Fire Station.

The incident occurred at a time when the HSE is making moves to remove control of the ambulance service from Dublin Fire Brigade.

This is not the first time that ambulances have had faults in recent years.


In 2011 an investigation was launched after two incidents during which the side doors on two ambulances opened up unexpectedly and without any warning.

And In June 2010, paramedic Simon Sexton (43) died instantly after falling out of the back of a HSE ambulance that had been taking a patient to hospital.

The father of six from Stradone, Co Cavan, dropped out of the moving ambulance and on to the road.