A distraught mother had to drive her unconscious child to hospital while an ambulanceman tended to him in the back seat of the car, Pearse Doherty TD has said.
The TD for Donegal South West told Newstalk Radio today that he had been contacted by health care staff after the incident which, he said, occurred last Tuesday.
“When a mother discovered her young son unconscious, she phoned the emergency services for an ambulance,” he said.
“An ambulance was sent out but there was only one paramedic on duty because the other had phoned in sick.
“When the paramedic saw that the child was unconscious, he called and asked for a second ambulance, because he could not drive the ambulance and attend to the child.
“He was told that the nearest ambulance was 45 minutes away. He then asked the HSE to contact paramedics living near the woman’s home to see if they would be able to assist him but the HSE refused,” Deputy Doherty continued.
“The paramedic had to make a judgement call. He asked the woman to drive to the hospital, so that he could tend to her child in the back seat, while the ambulance, with all its equipment, had to be left behind.
“That a parent should have to drive their unconscious child to a hospital after an ambulance has been called and arrived at the scene is unacceptable.
“The HSE has confirmed that there was only one paramedic on duty in the Letterkenny area last Tuesday between 5pm and 8pm. That is also unacceptable. When the paramedic phoned in sick, another should have been called on duty or at the very least, paramedics living nearby should have been called to assist
“Thank God the child is okay but this could have been a terrible, terrible story. This was a very, very close shave.”