Often when there is a bit of news about an ambulance service in the news I'll try to expand on the reporting by suggesting ways in which a, perhaps short-sighted, bit of journalism is obscuring the probable truth.

I don't do this just to provide 'balance', in some idealistic 'everyone who has an opinion is equally important' fashion, but instead to give as much of a voice to a member of staff or Trust that can't necessarily be as blunt as I can.

This goes doubly so for some of the more lurid tabloid reporting.

However, in this particular case, I can't think of any reason why the person involved in this shouldn't be fired.

A 999 patient died after an ambulance driver diverted to the depot instead of going to hospital-because he had over-run his shift.

The driver complained to a colleague that he was 15 minutes past the end of his duty and wanted to clock off. He got out of the ambulance without even telling his replacement there was a cricically <sic> sick case being tended by another medic in the back.

The new driver sped on to hospital as quickly as he could – but the detour had added half a mile and four crucial minutes to the journey. The patient, who had suffered a stroke, deteriorated during the drive and died of a suspected heart attack soon after arriving at A&E.

While I doubt that the four extra minutes travel time contributed to the death of the patient (although that isn't a certainty) there is no way that this is acceptable behaviour. If this story is true (and while the News of the World isn't exactly a top quality paper, I doubt they'd make this story up) then the driver has no excuse for their actions.

It's part of our job to sometimes be off late, we try not to be but in some cases it's unavoidable. I've been late off work more times than I can count, in fact it's the norm that I'm at least five or ten minutes off late.

To impact patient care in such a fashion in order to get off on time is frankly criminal and the person involved should have the book thrown at them.

13 thoughts on “Criminal”

  1. “the person involved should have the book thrown at them”My worry is that the crew concerned will “have the book thrown at them” because of the backlash, not because of what actually happened.

    Whilst we are all uncomfortable with this story, we mustn't have trial by media.

  2. Seriously!?! I really find that story hard to believe. But then could anyone really make this stuff up? If it is true, then I completely agree with you – the person should be fired.

  3. I was hoping you would comment. It seems incredible; perhaps when there are more details you could let us know what you think.

  4. That story appeared in several newspapers, not just the tabloids.Every LAS crew is familiar – as TR says – with getting off late. It's one of those things – you don't sod off in the middle of working on a cardiac arrest just because your twelve hours is up.

    Crews frequenty cop an emergency or critical transfer between hospitals when close to the end of the shift. We in EOC try as far as possible to hold the transfer for an incoming crew, or for a crew who is on duty for several more hours, but Sods Law specifies that some poor crew will end up doing a 13, 14 or 15 hour shift. Unfortunately, you have to shrug your shoulders and get on with it.

    The up-side is the possiblilty that – the following day – you don't get a break and end up going home early – Swings And Roundabouts.

    I foresee a sacking on the horizon.

  5. Considering the paucity of verifiable information, it is disturbing that so much press reporting is along the lines of 'fire them and jail them'.Also interesting that people can assert so accurately what the journey time (home to A&E) 'should have been'.

  6. Fair point, but doesn't change the facts of the case.This is beyond the usual ambulance “ignored” call for help story that pops up now and again. The fact is that the patient should never have been taken to the station before the hospital.

    One thing I don't understand is whey the medic in the back has also been suspended. Surely what happened was outside his or her control?

  7. News of the World is little better than the Sunday Sport. I put approximately zero weight on the story if it came from them.

  8. Its also in The Mail, The Mirror, The Express and The Times. They all say roughly the same thing. I think the story has validity.

  9. It's true. This, sadly, is in my own trust area.General feeling in my crew room is that at least one deserved sacking is approaching.

    There is no excuse for this.

  10. Don't know the individual(s) concerned; this happened at the opposite end of the Trust area, some 60 miles from my station.

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