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Mother forced to drive child to hospital due to medic shortage

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EMS Management Article

November 27, 2012

Mother forced to drive child to hospital due to medic shortage

The mother had to drive her daughter to the hospital while a paramedic tended to her in the backseat

By Garreth MacNamee
Daily Mirror

LETTERKENNY, Ireland — A distressed mother was forced to drive her unconscious child to hospital because of HSE cutbacks, it has emerged.

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty blasted the fiasco yesterday as it was revealed a shortage of staff saw the mum take her 11-year-old daughter to Letterkenny General Hospital while a paramedic tended to her in the back seat.

One of the paramedics had called in sick last Tuesday, which meant the ambulance was only staffed by one professional.

When the call for help was placed, dispatchers were then forced to send out the only ambulance it could.

The deputy for Donegal South West has expressed his shock and anger at the incident.

He said: "I was outraged to hear it. It is reported that an emergency call was made for an ambulance to attend to a young child who was unconscious.

"An ambulance was dispatched with one advanced paramedic who was driving the vehicle.

"At the scene, the paramedic made the clinical decision, based on the needs of the child, to travel back to the hospital [five minutes away] in the back of a car driven by the mother of the child."

The Sinn Fein TD was tipped off about the incident after a concerned hospital worker told him what had happened.

Mr Doherty claimed that when he contacted health bosses they admitted there was only one paramedic on duty at the time.

He said: "When I sought clarification from the HSE on this matter it was confirmed the advanced paramedic was indeed working on his own from 5pm to 8pm on the day in question.

"It was explained to me that this was due to staff reporting sick and requesting force majeure leave at short notice."

Local representatives also blasted the practice in the Donegal area, where it is claimed incidents like these have happened before.

Councillor Gerry McConagle believes it is only a matter of time before something more serious happens.

He said: "We've had these shortages before and thank God the child is OK, but what would happen had that child needed the use of the equipment on the ambulance?"

Copyright 2012 MGN Ltd.

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Comments
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Justin M Perry Justin M Perry Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:36:01 PM Watch people blame the paramedic for calling off.
Kim Callahan Kim Callahan Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:41:18 PM Kudos to the dedicated Medic...some days ya just do what ya gotta do to make it work.....
TC Collier TC Collier Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:49:04 PM I think I would have had the mother drive the ambulance so I would have my equipment if needed. Even if she wasn't familiar with the unit, she could drive slowly and make it. Most of what I have seen pictures of there are van type ambulances.
Christina Hawley Christina Hawley Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:54:05 PM "He said: "We've had these shortages before and thank God the child is OK, but what would happen had that child needed the use of the equipment on the ambulance?"" Do they walk into houses empty handed? Throw all of your equipment into the backseat of the car same as you would if you was walking into a house where someone is in cardiac arrest!
Christina Hawley Christina Hawley Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:55:59 PM Don't get me wrong, I am not agreeing with the situation. However, don't act like paramedics just walk into scenes empty handed. Don't act like no equipment can be removed off the truck.
Ron Murray Ron Murray Tuesday, November 27, 2012 5:19:55 PM Agree Buddy...
Bryan Ludlow Bryan Ludlow Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:07:56 PM Would you really trust an untrained person to drive an emergency vehicle?
Kristi B Dahl Kristi B Dahl Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:38:34 PM if it meant being in the ambulance as aposed to in a private vehicle while in the backseat, yes i would let an untrained person drive... it doesn't take a rocket scientiest to drive you know, and u would at least have all your equipment with you!
???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:39:20 PM You gotta do what work,right? I mean the kid needed the hospital and someone to help on the way there. I never drive a unit, educate me how different it is from my big truck :)
Vandora Steiner Vandora Steiner Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:37:56 PM I am not agreeing with what the paramedic did but they did what they had to get the child what they needed. We can run an ambulance with an emt but even when I did small services I respond by myself but we always had fire on scene to drive us or help us. I
TC Collier TC Collier Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:52:53 PM To Bryan: Absolutely. They don't have to drive fast. I need the equipment, not speed, to save a life.
TC Collier TC Collier Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:54:08 PM You got it Rose! That was my point, no different.
Arizona Academy of Emergency Services Arizona Academy of Emergency Services Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:49:45 AM Looks like we need to train some more Paramedics!