Dad blames ambulance crew for son's death

A GRIEVING father has told how an ambulance crew failed to treat his dying son and claimed they caused the disabled youngster's death.

Annie Davidson

A GRIEVING father has told how an ambulance crew failed to treat his dying son and claimed they caused the disabled youngster's death.

Marlon Sherman told a hearing how East of England Ambulance Service paramedic Alan MacFarlane and technician David Hughes acted as though the youngster “was already dead” when they arrived at the family's Colchester home.

Harry Sherman, eight, had suffered from quadriplegic cerebral palsy since birth and his concerned parents dialled 999 when he began having breathing difficulties due to a chest infection and vomiting.

Mr Sherman told a hearing of the Health Professions Council yesterday that he had just got home from work on April 19 last year when they decided to call for help at 10.58pm.

Mr Sherman's partner Alison Day rang for an ambulance as Mr Sherman began CPR but there was a delay of some minutes and when it did get to his road, it missed his house and drove further into his estate.

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When the reached the family's Berechurch Road home rather than make his way to Harry, MacFarlane remained at the front door, Mr Sherman claimed.

“There was a lack of conversation from both (MacFarlane and David Hughes). There was no sense of urgency,” Mr Sherman added.

Melinka Berridge, for the Health Professions Council, said: “At no stage either inside the house or ambulance did he (MacFarlane) take the clinical lead or attempt to use the life support equipment. Nor did he take over CPR.”

Dr Angela Tillet, a consultant paediatrician, said Harry arrived in accident and emergency at 11.20pm.

“I recall being in the emergency resuscitation room. I remember the (Harry's) father entering through the doors with his son in his arms,” she said. “He wasn't on a stretcher. I don't recall seeing any paramedics.”

Dr Tillet said she would have expected paramedics to have opened the child's airways and started chest compressions well before arriving at hospital. Harry died just before midnight, after all efforts to save him failed.

MacFarlane, of High Street, Earls Colne, a senior paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service, did not attend the fitness to practise hearing.

He is charged with failing to give appropriate care; deciding on a plan of action which he did not subsequently modify; failing to take the clinical lead as expected of a senior paramedic; failing to carry out a risk assessment or a check of the patient's airways; failing to start basic life support or advanced life support; failing to take a cardiac monitor, which led to no record of an ECG; failing to carry out an intubation or insertion of a nasal airway; and inappropriately choosing to drive the ambulance to hospital.

He is further charged with failing to take over CPR from the boy's father; acting in a rude and sarcastic manner to him and the rest of the boy's family; showing a lack of concern towards the patient; and impaired fitness to practise.

MacFarlane denies sarcastic or rude behaviour. In correspondence to the HPC he has neither admitted nor denied the other charges.

The hearing continues.