"Blase" paramedic cautioned

A 'BLASE' paramedic from Bexhill who failed to provide a stretcher for a woman with a fractured spine has been given a caution.

Graham Young did not offer the patient a neck brace, a back board or a cervical collar after she fell down a flight of stairs, the Health Professions Council heard.

The paramedic just leant on the handrail of the staircase while his colleague treated the woman, it was said. She was then led to the ambulance outside.

Young was reported to the Sussex Ambulance Service in 2006 but insisted he had provided "optimum care".

Mary Page, for the HPC, said Young and colleague Roy Sumner were called to an address in Harold Road, Hastings, on October 29, 2005.

Patient CL had spent the previous evening with a friend, KSH, and her mother-in-law, and decided to stay the night.

They went to bed but at 3am KSH awoke to "moaning noises".

After trying to find out what was wrong, she found CL at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading to the basement.

"CL was lying head down," said Ms Page. "Blood was around the face, as well as some other fluid - bile or vomit."

KSH called for an ambulance and the two paramedics turned up minutes later.

In her statement KSH said: "I felt they adopted a very blas attitude towards CL. "They didn't offer her a cervical collar or spinal board. She had spinal injuries but wasn't immobilised."

Later she described the care given as "negligent".

The woman's mother-in-law, referred to as ASH, said while Sumner went to check on CL, Young just "leaned over the handrail" of the stairs. "The paramedics didn't bring a stretcher," she said. "I didn't see any other equipment. I was with CL the whole time and neither offered to immobilise her."

CL was then helped up the staircase and led to the ambulance outside.

The HPC was told that Young should have immobilised CL as she had suspected spinal injuries - but a cervical collar, back board, or neck brace were never offered.

Later at hospital she was diagnosed as suffering a "stable fracture to her C7", in the spine and a fractured jaw.

Young was adamant he had performed to a "high professional standard" and"'felt he provided optimum care" when he was investigated over the incident.

Young, from Newlands Avenue, Bexhill, was found guilty of attending a patient after a fall, failing to notice they had a spinal injury and failing to immobilise or stabilise them properly.

He was cautioned for the "serious omission in the care he provided".

Chair Derek Adrian-Harris said Young failed to provide a "fundamental and vital part" of the emergency assessment.

"Public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process would be undermined if the panel determined to take no action or to allow mediation," he said.

"The panel considered a caution order and has determined that an appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case is that of a one-year caution order."

Young neither admitted or denied the facts alleged.

The hearing was told Sumner was given a five-year caution in 2008.