Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Paramedic refused to administer drugs to dying patient

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 23/05/2013

An inquest has heard how a patient suffered a fatal cardiac arrest because a paramedic refused to administer lifesaving drugs.

The paramedic, who was subsequently struck off, claimed that he was not trained to administer the drugs.

The coroner delivered a narrative verdict saying: "There was a clear missed opportunity to provide more suitable medical care by the paramedic. This was also a failure in care provided by (the paramedic’s) employers, the North East Ambulance Service."

The core responsibilities of a paramedic is to assess the injured or sick, provide first aid, perform life-saving procedures and lead the pre-hospital medical emergency response team. They are on the front line and are assumed to be the most extensively trained primary care provider. Understandably the public relies upon the ambulance service and in particular the swift response of the paramedic in life and death situations.

However, it may also be the case that there is a failure by a paramedic to assess the patient properly upon their arrival or a failure to recognise symptoms within a reasonable time period and to provide appropriate treatment with the urgency required. Unfortunately these types of failures can also result in catastrophic consequences.

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