Sunday, 7 June 2009

Man died after ambulance detour

An emergency patient died after a paramedic allegedly diverted an ambulance because his shift had ended.

An investigation is under way after the incident in Stockton, Teesside, on 18 May, in which a 69-year-old man died.

Instead of taking the stroke victim to Stockton's North Tees Hospital, a paramedic drove to the town's ambulance station.

A North East Ambulance Service Trust (NEAS) spokesman said a paramedic and a technician had been suspended.

The 3.3 mile (5.3 km) journey from the patient's house to the hospital should have taken less than 10 minutes.

But the delay meant he was not admitted to hospital until 30 minutes after the 999 call was made.

The driver suspended over the incident is aged 53 and the technician who was with the patient in the back of the ambulance is 54.

A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service Trust said: "This incident was immediately reported to us by another member of staff and as soon as we were notified, we acted to suspend a paramedic and an advanced technician from duty.

"We appointed a senior officer to carry out a full investigation of the incident and have notified the North East Strategic Health Authority, Stockton-on-Tees Teaching Primary Care Trust and the Health Professions Council of our actions.

"We have also been in touch with the family of the patient to give them our condolences and to keep them updated on developments.

"Patient care is our number one priority and we treat any action which falls short of the high standard expected of our staff extremely seriously.

"This has led to a thorough investigation and both the paramedic and advanced technician are now being dealt with in line with the trust's disciplinary procedures."


JuliaM said...

It's an odd story - why, if they were so close to shift-end, were they sent to this call?

Sam C said...

This is exactly the type of story we are looking for. My name is Sam Collins, and I and think tank Progressive Vision are working with an American film maker to document some of these bureaucratic blunders as part of a general film about the positives and negatives of the NHS for the US health care debate. If anyone has stories of this kind they would be willing to share, or is aware of anyone, please contact me at