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Information and instructions given by paramedic

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall today released a report finding a paramedic in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) for failures relating to a 111 call.

In the early hours of the morning, a woman woke and discovered herself bleeding significantly from the site of a recent Caesarean section wound. The woman’s husband called 111 and initially spoke with a call handler, who advised him not to touch the wound and that a paramedic would call him back. The call handler input information into the ambulance service’s system and the system generated a response code of green (not life-threatening.)

The paramedic called the husband and they discussed the extent of the bleeding. The husband told the paramedic that a pool of blood was found in the bed, that when the woman got up she saw blood dripping across the floor, and that the woman’s pyjamas were soaked with blood. He also told the paramedic that he had not seen the wound and had not applied pressure to it.

Ms Wall was critical that the paramedic did not upgrade the green response code, and did not instruct the man to apply pressure to the wound.

The paramedic confirmed the location for service and advised the husband that the next available ambulance would come. The husband told the paramedic that he was going to go to the hospital straight away.

Ms Wall was critical that the paramedic did not recommend firmly that the husband wait for an ambulance, explain the risks of self-transport and give the husband advice about what to do if the woman’s condition worsened during the drive to hospital.

The Deputy Commissioner recommended that the paramedic provide a written apology to the family and undertake training. She also recommended the ambulance service provide training to staff and undertake an audit of the paramedic’s calls.

The full report for case 17HDC01734 is on the HDC website.


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