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Staff had raised fears over child trap ambulance

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John Kidd (right) said staff had raised concerns over the ambulance. Photo: Collins

John Kidd (right) said staff had raised concerns over the ambulance. Photo: Collins

John Kidd (right) said staff had raised concerns over the ambulance. Photo: Collins

PARAMEDICS flagged their concerns several days ago about the ambulance that broke down on its way to hospital with a child trapped inside.

The sick child was being rushed to Temple Street Hospital after suffering from anaphylactic reaction when the ambulance broke down at Raheny on St Patrick's Day.

One of the paramedics on board had to kick his way out of the ambulance to free the child, who had been stabilised but needed hospital attention.

CONCERNS

An investigation was launched by Dublin Fire Brigade after the incident.

But John Kidd, chairman of the Irish Fire and Emergency Service Association (IFESA), said paramedics raised their concerns and highlighted the faults in the ambulance last Friday.

The vehicle has been on the road since 2010 and has clocked up 350,000km.

Mr Kidd said there were problems with the locking mechanism on Friday.

"But due to cutbacks mechanics are no longer on duty over the weekend," he said. "Ambulance crews were run off their feet over the weekend."

Mr Kidd added that any ambulance with mileage of over 250,000km should be taken off the road.

"But some of the 12 vehicles have double that," he said.

The ambulance had two paramedics and the child, who was accompanied by a relative, when it stopped running and locked shut, leaving everyone aboard trapped.

A large window compartment, supposed to act as an emergency escape route, also failed to function.

A fire engine was sent to the scene to help and crew managed to break the window.

However, those inside were still unable to leave because of a protective perspex cover.

Eventually, one of the paramedics inside the ambulance had to use the force of his body to dislodge the perspex.

It has since emerged that it would have been easier for the paramedics to smash the roof of the ambulance, but this information was not made available.

PROBE

A spokeswoman for Dublin Fire Brigade said it is taking the incident very seriously and that it has launched an investigation into the matter.

The probe will include conducting an inquiry with the manufacturer to identify what might have caused the ambulance to break down, and to safeguard against the potential for a similar incident taking place again.

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

Meanwhile, Mr Kidd and SIPTU organiser Brendan O'Brien said they deplored any plans to hand the Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance service over to the HSE, which runs all other ambulances nationwide.

The service in the capital is on the road around the clock and needs another three vehicles to meet the demands, said Mr Kidd.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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