Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Ambulance crew 'let patient die'

By Geneviève Roberts
Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Two Ambulance workers have been arrested on suspicion of neglecting a dying man.

They were detained after detectives were given a tape recording of them in the dying patient's house, in which they were allegedly heard discussing not bothering to try to revive him.

The two men, aged 35 and 44, both employees of South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust, had been sent to the home of a disabled man, Barry Baker, who dialled 999 saying he thought he was having a heart attack.

Ambulance controllers kept Mr Baker, from Brighton, talking on the phone as they ordered the paramedic and ambulance technician to get to him.

But the 59-year-old, who lived alone, collapsed unconscious while talking on the phone, leaving the line open to the control centre as he lay on the floor.

Minutes later, dispatch centre staff heard their crew enter the house, making disparaging comments about the state of the home. A police source said the crew were then heard discussing Mr Baker and saying "words the effect that he was not worth saving".

Both men have been suspended and bailed until next month while a police investigation is carried out. No charges have yet been made. A police source said: "Apparently, the paramedics' first reaction was to comment on the untidy and unkempt state of the house. Then they are 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 decide to say that he was already dead when they arrived.

"Obviously the crew did not realise the phone was still connected and the 999 call was all recorded on tape."

"The controllers were so shocked they contacted senior managers and the police were called in."
Source: The Independent