Ambulance Accident

Ambulance Negligence

The family of a disabled boy has claimed that their son died as a result of a series of blunders by the local ambulance service, drawing attention once again to the importance of primary care not only in a hospital, but also on the journey to a health centre as well.

The 18 year old boy, who suffered from the debilitating disease muscular dystrophy, died in an ambulance accident after developing a serious chest infection that caused him breathing difficulties. His family are now considering suing the ambulance service after an independent report found a catalogue of mistakes in the boy's treatment leading up to the time of his death.

The family says that two NHS 24 doctors were called out separately over a weekend as his breathing worsened, but refused to give him antibiotics. The family say that because of a lack of communication and the doctors not knowing the boy's medical history, the antibiotics that could have prevented the condition from becoming fatal were not administered, despite the family's experience in the boy's treatment and their repeated attempts to get the doctors to listen. The boy's GP was called on the Monday and immediately called an ambulance. Even at this point, the ambulance crew arrived expecting to treat an 18 month-old infant, not an 18-year-old boy. The family also say that the crew failed to stabilise the boy's breathing and refused to let the mother ride in the ambulance with her son. He died on the way to hospital.

A report into the incident highlighted a series of errors and the family is now considering suing for medical negligence. This and, unfortunately, several other recent cases show that primary care does not begin at the hospital doors, but that the journey and how patients are treated on the way is as vital as the emergency care they receive within the confines of a hospital. It also shows that medical negligence is an accusation that can be levelled at all members of the medical profession, not just doctors and nurses. It is these sorts of cases that grab headlines and can often portray the ambulance crews in an appalling light. But in their defence, they rely on the information given to them by their controllers, and if that information is wrong, the treatment administered is going to fall below standards more frequently than if the correct information was relayed.

Suing the NHS is a complex, time consuming business. But it is essential - not just to gain compensation those victims deserve, but also to highlight weaknesses in an area where people's lives depend on quick responses, the right information and the correct treatment being given. Every time there is a disaster, the same old cliché gets trotted out - 'lessons need to be learned'. That's fine if those lessons really are learnt, but the only way to ensure that the primary care services keep their standards as high as possible is to constantly monitor and, where necessary, emphasise the failures through the courts. Not only does that lead to the victims and their families receiving the compensation they deserve, but it also forces the NHS to take a fresh look at its operations and improve standards where necessary.

No amount of money can replace a life, especially the life of a child. But if others are not to suffer the same tragedy, then a constant vigil needs to be maintained, and the NHS and other primary care organisations such as the ambulance service need to know that the spotlight is not going to go away and that they will be held accountable for their actions.

If you would like 1stClaims’ expert Medical Negligence Solicitors on your side please call us free on 0800 2888 693 (from a mobile click to call: 01348 630 720) or complete our Free Claim Enquiry form now and we will be in touch with you very soon.

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