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Paramedic Suspended For Causing Serious Brain Damage

Paramedic Suspended For Causing Serious Brain Damage

A paramedic has been suspended for a year after a ruling found he failed to ventilate a tetraplegic patient.

Neil Crawford, who worked for Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) was called to the home of Jamie Merrett in January 2009. Mr Merrett's life support machine had accidentally been switched off by his carer, and he required urgent treatment.

Mr Merrett, 38, had been left paralysed after a car crash. Since his accident, he had been receiving care at his home in Devizes from an agency nurse working for the NHS. However, he had concerns about the standard of care he was receiving, and so had set up a camera on his bedside table.

The CCTV footage caught the entire incident, and was used as evidence during the two-day ruling.

It showed Mr Merrett's carer, Violetta Aylward, switching off the life support by mistake. It then showed the arrival of the paramedics, revealing their failure to act properly.

A disciplinary panel from the Health Professions Council found Mr Crawford failed to perform an Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC) assessment and failed to provide the patient with oxygen. It also found that he falsely informed the air support paramedics that he was unable to obtain a radial pulse, even though he never attempted to do so.

As a result of this negligence, Mr Merrett has been left with serious brain damage. He is now being looked after at a care home in Somerset.

Commenting on the ruling, spokesman for GWAS John Oliver said: "The welfare and appropriate care of our patients is always our main priority.

"Following this incident in January 2009, the trust became aware that the paramedic who was first on scene failed to provide the level of care demanded of a professionally registered clinician and subsequently provided inaccurate and misleading information to the resulting investigation.

"The individual was initially suspended by the trust and, following an internal investigation and disciplinary process, he was subsequently dismissed.

"We also notified the Health Professions Council, resulting in this week's hearing."

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