Ambulance bosses apologise over boy's death

AMBULANCE bosses have apologised after a paramedic was struck off for failing to give basic care to an eight-year-old boy who later died in hospital.

AMBULANCE bosses have apologised after a paramedic was struck off for failing to give basic care to an eight-year-old boy who later died in hospital.

Alan MacFarlane was struck off yesterday after a hearing by the Health Professions Council heard he left Harry Sherman's father in the back of the ambulance performing CPR on him.

Heartbroken Marlon Sherman, 42, from Colchester, said the paramedic had “played God” with his son's life and he had been “cheated out of precious years” watching him grow up.

He said: "If he had done all they could and Harry died then we would have been thankful, but he played God, he was callous and did nothing. We put our faith in him, we trusted him."


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Mr Sherman and his partner Alison Day, 46, a former nurse, had raised the alarm after in April last year (2008) Harry, who had suffered from cerebral palsy from birth, began having breathing problems after vomiting and suffering from a chest infection.

They claimed the ambulance took 20-25 minutes to arrive at their home in Colchester and all the while Mr Sherman tried to resuscitate his son.

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Speaking after the tragedy, Mr Sherman said he was giving mouth to mouth and chest compressions to his son but he wasn't very responsive.

After the arrival of the ambulance, he said no one assisted him with CPR and there was no explanation why.

“I picked up Harry and ran barefoot carrying him to the back of the ambulance. The paramedic got in the front and started driving. A technician got in the back with us. I asked him again if he was going to take over CPR and he didn't so I carried on.

“He got a bag with a mask and put it over Harry's face but didn't do anything so I told him he needed to squeeze it so he gave it two little squeezes."

The ambulance took Harry to Colchester General Hospital where Mr Sherman ran in carrying his son. Staff at the hospital battled for 20 minutes to revive Harry in vain and he was pronounced dead.

MacFarlane was found guilty of failing to provide appropriate care and failing to act professionally by a panel of the Health Professions Council yesterday. MacFarlane and the ambulance technician who was with him at the incident in April 2008 have both since left the East of England Ambulance Service.

Mr Sherman said: "The only explanation I can think is that they knew he had problems and decided they weren't going to do anything.

"Harry couldn't walk or talk and relied on us totally for his care but he had understanding of what was going on.

"He was a very happy boy, he laughed every day and we doted over him and he doted over us.

"He loved anything on television, especially Jerry Springer. He loved coming out with me in the car. Everyone knew him for his smile and his beautiful long eye lashes."

Harry was born disabled and needed 24 hours care from his parents. Two years ago he had metal rods inserted into his back to correct a curvature of his spine and recovered well.

Mr Sherman said: "He had a really good quality of life, otherwise he would not have lasted as long. His life expectancy was in his 20s so we feel we have been cheated out of precious years with him."

Breaking down in tears the grieving dad added: "There is a lot of anger and disappointment in us for people who we put our trust in.

"We are broken. I go to the cemetery every day and sit with my son, I've promised him justice."

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesperson said: "As soon as we became aware of this tragic incident, the ambulance crew involved was immediately suspended and an investigation launched. Both are no longer in our employment.

"The involvement of the HPC, which governs the fitness to practice and registration of paramedics, was the natural next step in this case.

"We again offer our sincere apologies and condolences to Mr Sherman and his family over Harry's care."

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