Saturday, April 26, 2008

Balls Up

I'm posting this article in full and directly. All I will say is that I am amazed the Polis haven't been blamed for not getting there quicker either.

A grieving mum sobbed as she heard how a paramedic was not allowed to treat her son as he bled to death.

Stab victim Stuart Baillie, 19, lay dying in the street after being knifed in the neck.

Paramedic Mairi Lennon was on the scene within minutes, but was banned from leaving her rapid-response vehicle as she was the only medic at the scene.

Yesterday's Daily Record exclusively revealed the scandal as unions warned of the dangers of replacing up to 70 ambulances with the one-person cars.

Stuart's mum Christine Halley said yesterday: "My boy might have been saved - we'll never know.
If a medically trained person is on the scene and there is someone bleeding to death, treatment has to be carried out. To suggest otherwise is madness. A rule which prevents a paramedic leaving their vehicle is unbelievable. It's unacceptable and has to be changed. It won't bring my son back, but it might prevent this sort of thing happening again."

Mairi had to watch for 13 minutes as Stuart's life slipped away in a street in Easterhouse.

Her terms of employment and an order from HQ banned her from getting out of her car at a violent incident without back-up. She had to wait for a two-man ambulance.

Christine, 40, of Ballieston, Glasgow, said: "The idea of a trained medical person sitting in a car looking on as my son lay in the street is too much to bear.
Stuart was attacked at about 12.15am. He died at the scene but was not pronounced dead until 5.30am. We'll never know what night have happened if he'd been treated straight away."

Christine did not even know a rapid-response paramedic had been called on the night her son died until the Record told her.
Sitting with son Scott and daughter Roxanne, she broke down in tears as she said: "I can't believe this - I'm struggling to even take this in."

Scaffolder Stuart had three sisters and two brothers. Roxanne, 17, said: "We can't understand the point of a paramedic being there and not being able to treat someone. Why send the paramedic in the first place?"

The Record told how paramedic Mairi, 35, would have lost her job if she had followed her instincts and helped Stuart.
She is convinced she could have saved his life and is off work with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident.

Unions highlighted the case as proof the Scottish Ambulance Service's shock plan to axe a chunk of the country's 435 ambulances could be deadly. The idea has enraged politicians, GPs and patient watchdogs.

Ian Lowrie, 19, was caged for 11 years last month for the culpable homicide of Stuart last August. A cabbie heard the thug on his mobile phone telling a pal: "I plunged the b******. I put it right through him." Gang member Lowrie was charged with murder, but admitted the reduced charge of culpable homicide. The court heard Stuart and a pal had rowed with Lowrie and one of his mates and Lowrie was hit with a bottle. He returned with a knife and stabbed Stuart repeatedly.

Christine said: "We've been let down badly by the justice system - but now this.
The police told me it was premeditated murder, as the killer fought with Stuart, went into a house to fetch a knife and came out and stabbed my son in the neck. How is that culpable homicide and not murder? A deal was done and it stinks. The first I knew about it was when the prosecution told me a deal had been done. I wasn't consulted - I was told. The final insult was when Stuart's killer winked at me in court. The experience has been a nightmare and to hear a paramedic could have had a chance at saving Stuart just made it worse."

The local rag had this telling quote;

Mr Baillie’s mother Christine said she blamed NHS cutbacks. She said: “I am just shattered, totally and utterly shattered. It is not right, it is not human, it doesn’t seem right at all. She (the Paramedic) sat there and listened to his screams. She said something like that would haunt her forever.”

Over to all you loons and quines to comment on this quandary.

Update: I am indebted to Captain America over at First In for this link to an equally thought provoking news report video from Philly.

OK folks, I've started a veritable fire-storm and here's even more.

© Noddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times


KLGA said...

I can see this comment might well promote alot of conflict over this blog post.

I work for an ambulance service and it is common place that where violence has occurred the single responder or the crew on scene should wait for police attendance.

Of course paramedics and not forgetting technicians are there to help people when they are sick or injured, but what use is a stabbed or otherwise injured paramedic on the scene of an incident.

Ambulance staff do not receive training on how to deal with people who are attacking them and not all ambulance staff have stab vests. So management HAS to consider the safety of their staff.

I do feel for the family of the young man that died and I know that many people will disagree with what I am saying.

P.S. I am not blaming the police either

PCSO Bloggs said...

This all sounds vaguely familiar.

RT said...

How sad.

We face shortages in our cities, but not the rules that your paramedics do.

I cannot imagine how helpless and frustrated that paramedic felt, too. I think the rules-be-damned person in me (especially in an emergency) would have made me help that young man. However, I don't fault the paramedic.

The outcome of the case stinks, too. Plea bargains and deals are all too familiar over here.

nightjack said...

For me, this is a matter of personal conviction. It would be so much better if manangement posted guidelines rather than rules for this type of situation.

Personally, if someone needs my help in a life - death situation, I am going in and sod the consequences. Done it before with and without the dubious benefits of a stab vest and I will do it again.

As to the result of trying to make the Paramedic safer, all that seems to have happened is that she ended up with her head messed up. I can't think this was intended but what do we think is going to happen if we force a trained paramedic to stand back and watch somebody bleed to death? We can't make what the emergency do entirely safe by writing orders. You can't even make it reasonably safe so stop trying to legislate and train / equip instead.

Managers, please let your people have the discretion to risk themselves if they want to. To do otherwise is to harmfully deny them their humanity.

Spence Kennedy said...

A really horrible incident for everyone, especially the family, of course.

Two things occur to me, based on our protocol for responding to incidents involving weapons or assaults. The first is that we look to the police to secure the area, and we stand off until they're happy that it's safe. Stand off means somewhere safely away from the scene – which certainly isn’t within sight or sound.

The second is that a single responder will not be sent to it. The car is aimed at things like heart attacks, other medical emergencies etc. A paramedic on a car might be asked to back up a technician crew at anything else, but it would be on the understanding that the crew are already there, and that things are safe.

The car is meant to spread cover so that response times to cardiac events (in particular) are met. Lots of people are uncomfortable about going on the car, because however careful the dispatchers are, you can sometimes get caught out. I wonder if in this case the call was given as a knife wound. I doubt it! You're just too vulnerable dealing with something like that on your own - and of course you're not able to transport the patient. In this case, getting the patient off to hospital as quickly as possible would've been top priority, as there's a limited amount you can do on scene with severe blood loss. A neck wound - especially if a major blood vessel is involved - is difficult to manage.

But you never get the full facts from the newspaper. Who knows what the exact circumstances were.

I hope the paramedic concerned feels able to come back to work soon. No one in the service would blame them for standing off in this situation. I would say that they shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Louise said...

I am extremely aware of this case as the Parmedic in question is known by several people I work with (though not me personally)

The first thing we are taught is 'dynamic risk assessment' Now we are told to assess the danger. If she was sat in the car next to patient as reported and there was no one else around, and she used her risk assessment she could have treated, the word BANNED is inflammatory, they actually use ADVISED.

Also the Daily Record are renounded for 'artistic licence'. "She believes she could have saved him" I'm sorry but no matter how good a paramedic you are you dont carry blood, and this patient had been stabbed in the neck?! The only thing that could have saved this kid was extensive fluid replace far beyond the remit of a paramedic...........come on people lets be sensible and realistic about this.

However I do agree with the fact that taking 70 ambulances of the road is a bad idea. How good will it look when an RRU is waiting an hour for an ambulance (or taxi as they will become) to be available..............imagine the headlines then!

Captain America said...

This is pure and absolute NEGLIGENCE. If the scene wasn't secured she should have called for police to secure it and arrest the criminal.

There is NO justification for street EMS personnel to EVER work alone for this EXACT REASON.

There is no excuse for letting a kid bleed out in the gutter, ever.

Direct pressure and a ride to the hospital with an IV would have been plenty enough to give him excellent chance of surviving.

Your system is more screwed up than ours and ours is a mess!

Captain America said...

PS Nice Blog.

Noddy said...

Captain Colony,

Anyone who supports Autism Awareness deserves a link on my side bar. So you are first in on the public slaves section for those over the pond.



Noddy said...

For those wanting a linky to this equally thought provoking video from the Captain here it is.

The whole world has gone nutz.

Louise said...

Ok, I have become aware of more information regarding this case and have posted about it on my blog.

Captain America I would particularly like to direct yourself so as you may understand the facts of the case before making such a violent judgement of our system.

Noddy said...


Your post makes some fine points. Still, it seems the emergency services are damned if you do and damned if you don't in some quarters, not least the gutter press and I rarely take anything at face value in the media especially the Daily Ranger.

I think captain america's point is that human nature sometimes takes over from all the protocols you really ought to adhere too. At the end of the day it is a risk assessment, that involves you, others in your way (ie other road users on a blues and twos) and the possibility you might not get to the scene at all.

Sometimes, as my mum used to say, it is better to be late than never.

What we do need, and well done to SAS spokestypes on this occasion, is support from our gaffers when we follow their rules. It really is up to them to justify the protocols, not us at the coal face.