Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Mother forced to drive child to hospital due to medic shortage


Sign up for FREE
Email Newsletters

Find the Right School

Online Campus Both

EMS Management Resources

EMS Management Links

Most Popular Articles

Featured Product Categories

Crew Quarter Talk

Most Recent Posts

Most Active Posts

EMS Management Tips

EMS Management Videos

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.

LexisNexis Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.   
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy

All Rights Reserved

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
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!
Rossukhon Derrick Rossukhon Derrick 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
Scott Babbitt Scott Babbitt Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:42:59 PM There are a lot of solutions to this problem some are is there really a medic shortage you don't need to be a medic to drive that can be done by there equivelent of emt basic or any one trained to drive emergency vehicles such as police or fire personel that could have been dispatched to the scene or a supervisor in an intercept car this should have been requested by the medic on the ambulance or a supervisor monitoring the call or dispatch knowing the medic was alone Without being there I am not blaming anyone just some suggestions as how the problem could have been handled. I have been in the situation more than once in my career where I have been alone on an ambulance using it as an ALS first response unit because I had no partner with another unit sent for transport from further away and if I did not hesitate to use other responders such as fire or poloice to drive if I felt the patient could not wait for the 2nd unit. I don't know about policies of this department or Ireland but if what I am suggesting can't be done then they need to change there regulations.
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!