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July 2019

Date: 16 September 2019

  • Details:

    The complainant has stopped to assist a patient who was having a suspected heart attack. The patient’s partner had already fetched a community defibrillator. The complainant found that the staff who attended were rude and abrupt and showed no compassion to the patient. The crew also refused to take the defibrillator with them and the complainant didn’t want it left by the roadside. The complainant was then left ringing around trying to find who oversaw the defibrillator. The same crew were sent to the complainant’s house to collect the defibrillator;  they spoke to the complainant in a disgusting manner stating that it was their job to attend emergencies. They made the complainant feel stupid for not know what to do with the defibrillator. Her husband could not believe that a registered health professional would speak to a member of the public that way.

    The complainant believed that there should have been a protocol in place for the safe return of community defibrillators and members of the emergency services should be made aware of what to do should a similar situation arise. The crew needed to be made aware that members of the public are not exposed to this type of event frequently and may be upset by it and shouting that they are busy is not appropriate.

  • Findings:

    As part of the investigation, the investigating manager addressed the concerns with the crew members. The crew informed the investigating manager that the job was difficult, as the patient was threatening and agitated. They were aware that the defibrillator had been retrieved by the patient's partner, but by the time they left scene the defibrillator was not anywhere to be seen. The crew refute the idea that they refused to take the defibrillator with them.

    One of the community response managers reviewed the complaint as they oversee the community defibrillators and the processes surrounding them. They have advised on the policies and protocols regarding returning the defibrillators following an incident.

  • Lesson learnt / action taken:

    The investigating officer found the attitude of the crew on retrieval of the defibrillator inexcusable and they have been spoken about this and how to address members of the public even if they were unhappy with the situation.

    The community defibrillator protocol has been reviewed and clarified. This has confirmed that the ambulance crew should take the community defibrillator with them to their ambulance station for safe keeping and the custodian of the community defibrillator will then be notified to arrange collection. A memo will be published on the Trust’s internal communications and sent to all general managers and assistant general managers to reiterate the process.

  • Date:
    01 July 2019