Ambulance 'loses way' to hospital
Ambulance drivers are to get additional training after a vehicle got lost as it was taking a woman to hospital, who later died.In a statement East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) said: “During the journey… the ambulance satellite navigation system failed and the driver, who usually operates in the Skegness area, took a wrong turn.
“This was realised and the crew member in the rear of the vehicle, who was familiar with the area, was able to direct the driver back on course.
I rely on the Sat-nav system on my ambulance – not so much if I'm working in my area, but if I'm elsewhere in London then I'm like a fish out of water.
Strange hospitals are the worst as I keep circling the area trying to find the A&E department.
If I do a transfer to a hospital outside of East London, there is then a big chance that I'll get another job in the area. I don't have 'the knowledge' so end up following the sat-nav or relying on one of our mapbooks.
This is a tragedy, but despite this it is a bit of a non-story in my opinion, someone from outside of the area took a wrong turn, it was corrected and they found the hospital. That the father of the patient reached the hospital 15 minutes earlier isn't unusual – I'm often beaten to hospital by relatives 'following' in the car, partly because we do various things before we leave the scene and partly because I don't drive like a loon with a patient in the back. Ambulances have different handling to cars and so we'll often drive slower.
If someone could tell me how 'better trained' can be implemented in order to make sure that when driving in an unusual area with a failed navigation system the driver never takes a wrong turn I'm sure every service in the country would be grateful.
And yes, I've taken a wrong turn or two myself and had to rely on the experience and knowledge of my partner to help me out, and I've done the same for people who have worked with me. It's why a good ambulance crew is a team.
And not being able to find a place can be one of the worse things that happens to you – as this example from the archives shows.
I got a job, '14 month child, floppy and lifeless'.
The address was given as 'Flat 1, Rose house, Starling road'.
I sped up and down the road. I spotted some of the names of the flats in tiny writing, on little blue plaques many of them pointing away from the road. My pulse started to rise. It had taken me four minutes to reach the area, but how much longer would it take me to locate the potentially very sick child?
I found 'Lilac House', 'Lily House' and 'Tulip House', but I couldn't find 'Rose House'.
Now I was starting to panic.