Paramedics Arrested in UK for Ignoring a Dying Man

by Gopalan on  December 31, 2008 at 12:35 PM Medico Legal News
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 Paramedics Arrested in UK for Ignoring a Dying Man
Two paramedics are being prosecuted in the UK for failing to attempt to revive a dying man.

They were detained after detectives were given a tape recording of their conversation in a disabled patient's house when they were heard saying the man was not worth the attempt. The man finally died despite his emergency call.

The whole thing came out in the open because the patient, Barry Baker had collapsed while talking to the ambulance headquarters and the line to the control room remained alive at the time of the conversation.

They were rushed to the man's home after he dialled 999, saying he thought he was having a heart attack.

Mr Baker, who used sticks to walk around after undergoing hip replacement operations, made the call in the early hours of November 29.

Ambulance controllers kept Mr Baker talking on the phone as they ordered the paramedic and ambulance technician to use their blue lights to get to him as quickly as possible.

However the 59-year-old, who lived alone, collapsed unconscious while talking on the phone, leaving the line open, unconsciously setting the trap for the callous paramedics.

The dispatch centre staff were aghast to hear their crew making disparaging comments about the state of the home.

'Apparently the paramedics' first reaction was to comment on the untidy and unkempt state of the house, a police spokesman said.

'Then they are apparently heard to comment on seeing Mr Baker and saying that it was not worth bothering to try to carry out resuscitation to try to save him. They then are heard discussing what to tell ambulance control and allegedly decide to say that he was already dead when they arrived.

'Obviously the crew did not realise that the phone was still connected and, of course, the 999 call was all recorded on tape,' said the source.

'The controllers were so shocked by what seemed to be their colleagues' lack of care for their patient that they immediately contacted senior managers and the police were called in.

'The tape recording of what the paramedics allegedly said has been handed over to the Sussex Police Major Crime Team as evidence,' he added.

'It is amazing that the crew of a front-line ambulance could be so callous as to not even make an attempt to save this man's life, especially as he was breathing and conscious at the start of the 999 call just minutes earlier.'

'The men, aged 35 years and 44 years and from the Brighton area, have been arrested and questioned following the death of a man in Brighton,' said the spokesman, reported Daily Mail.

'They were detained on suspicion of wilfully neglecting to perform a duty in public office, contrary to Common Law,' said the spokesman.

'They have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.'

A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance NHS Trust said that both men had been suspended from duty.

Source: Medindia

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