Paramedic who refused to help a man with a broken back

Discussion in 'Fun and Notables' started by Blake Bowden, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member


    A paramedic who refused to help a man with a broken back because he was on his lunch break escaped any punishment yesterday.

    Robert Chambers was found guilty of misconduct by the Health Professions Council.

    Tribunal chairman Colin Allies said: 'This was a big professional mistake but he has shown insight into his behaviour.

    'We are satisfied that his fitness to practice is not impaired.'

    Chambers, who had admitted a lack of competence, was filling up his ambulance at a petrol station in Lewes, East Sussex, when he was approached by the injured man's friends on Boxing Day in 2006.

    The patient had been on a Boxing Day fox hunt when he injured his back in a Land Rover. His friends had tried to get him out the car but he was in such pain it was impossible to move him.

    When asked to help, Chambers said: 'Sorry - I'm off duty.'

    The man remained in agony for 40 minutes as he waited for another ambulance to come from 15 miles away. He had to be given morphine- which Chambers had in his vehicle.

    The patient had fractured a vertebrae and was off work for three months.

    A paramedic for 18 years, Chambers told South East Ambulance Service bosses at an internal hearing he 'felt he could ignore' the request as he was on a break.

    But he told the tribunal it was the 'biggest cock-up of my life'.

    'I should have gone to see the patient. It doesn't sit comfortably with me,' he said.

    Chris Ford, a project manager for South East Ambulance Service told the hearing: 'It's generally understood that if a paramedic is approached by a member of the public, even if he is doing something different, it's incumbent on him to respond to that incident. If he happens to be at the incident, then it's appropriate to respond.'

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