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Paramedic drove unconscious patient to wrong hospital in car and made three stops

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A patient with a history of fits became unconscious when she was driven to hospital in a car by a paramedic who made a number of stops, a tribunal has heard.

Shane Kennedy, a paramedic with the East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) since 2004, did not attend the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) fitness to practise hearing in south-east London, where he is accused of misconduct or lack of competence.

Mr Kennedy is accused of stopping the fast response car three times - including one stop which lasted 26 minutes - while taking the 21-year-old woman to hospital in January 2015.

There were two other stops, each lasting four minutes, according to the vehicle's satellite tracking system.

Mr Kennedy, a former policeman who qualified as a paramedic in April 2008, responded to an alert of a woman who was suffering fits at her home.

A two-person ambulance crew arrived minutes later and offered to take the woman to hospital.

But Mr Kennedy decided to take the woman, who did not want to go to hospital, to Burton Queen's Hospital instead of one nearby in Derby.

Mr Kennedy took the patient to Queen's Hospital in Burton instead of a nearby one Credit: PA

Mark Fuller, who carried out an internal Emas investigation, told the hearing:

My investigation concluded that he should not have taken her. The crew was already on scene. He stood the crew down. He took her himself to the wrong hospital, which was incorrect and he took too long to get to the wrong hospital.

– Mark Fuller, investigator

Asked during the internal investigation why he stopped on the way to hospital, Mr Kennedy replied:

"I can only assume that I was reassuring her. I do not recall it being 26 minutes. Her GCS (Glasgow coma scale) levels had dropped. I do not recall the level."

Given the woman's history of fitting, she was unstable and should have been taken to hospital by ambulance instead of in the passenger seat of the car, according to Mr Fuller.

Mr Fuller said the paramedic would have driven "past the hospital to get to another hospital, which was quite bizarre", and that Mr Kennedy did not give a full explanation about what he was doing during the stops.

It is claimed that Mr Kennedy took the patient to hospital in his fast response vehicle despite the risk of repeated seizure, without any clinical justification, when a double- crewed ambulance could have taken her.

Mr Kennedy did not use the vehicle's blue lights to take the woman to hospital despite the deterioration in her condition.

Greg Foxsmith, for the HCPC, said:

These vehicles are satellite-tracked. We can provide evidence that the single vehicle stopped on at least three different occasions and one of these stops was for a significant period of 26 minutes approximately. At no point did he request back up from a double crew ambulance.

– Greg Foxsmith

Mr Kennedy is also accused of not properly assessing a 74-year-old diabetic woman, identified only as patient B, who had fallen at her bungalow in Derby.

The pensioner had been left lying on the living floor for at least a day and a half by the time her daughter heard she was in trouble on December 31 2014.

Her daughter, identified as Miss B, said her mother, a large woman, was soiled and "crying and yelping" in pain as she was moved into the bedroom

This was done by Miss B, the woman's 77-year-old partner and Mr Kennedy.

Miss B described her mother as "shaking, her breathing was a bit deep, she could not talk properly, was not completely herself and her face was yellow".

When Mr Kennedy arrived, Miss B told him that her mother had diabetes and had not had her medication. Mr Kennedy was talking to her mother's partner plus "talking about football and having a bad back himself", according to Miss B.

After Mr Kennedy left, a tennis ball-sized bedsore was found on the pensioner by her family who later bathed her.

Miss B called an emergency helpline and eventually a second paramedic was sent out.

Her mother was taken to hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia and kidney problems.

Mr Kennedy is accused of failing to carry out a thorough or complete assessment and of inappropriately discharging patient B at the scene.