Monday, August 24, 2009

Huge Queensland ambulance foulup (1) -- one of three such reported in one day

Girl, 8, died after life-saving defibrillator removed from ambulance. Since the Leftist Queensland State government took over the ambulance service some years ago and made it "free" for all, serious problems have never stopped coming, despite various "reforms" and "overhauls". Some of the problems stem from a typically Leftist love of centralization, with local call centres being abolished and operators in the newly centralized locations being made responsible for distant cities that they know nothing about. That is the exact opposite of what is actually needed. Another example of how disastrous government involvement in medical services can be. There are similar reports from other Australian States -- particularly Victoria

An eight year-old Gold Coast girl in cardiac arrest died after life-saving equipment was removed from the ambulance sent to treat her. Documents obtained by The Courier Mail under Right to Information laws show that the ambulance arrived without a defibrillator – a device used to restore the heart beat – because it had been taken out at the station for training purposes.

A report into the incident, which occurred on December 2, 2007, said the address was less than 3km from the station and an advanced care and student paramedic reached the scene within three minutes. "On arrival the officers identified that they had left the portable resuscitation kit and defibrillator at the station after it had been removed for the purposes of undertaking training," the report said.

"The officers reported that during CPR, copious amounts of vomit was 'flowing from the airway during cardiac compressions'. "Normally the airway would have been suctioned using the suction device in the portable resuscitation kit, however this was not available."

Two more crews were sent and arrived four and seven minutes later, but the girl's pulse was already "unrecordable" and "skin cold". "The patient was transported to hospital and was pronounced deceased a short time after," the report stated. "The officer who removed the equipment was under the impression that they would be the last crew out.

"The officer-in-charge confirmed that it was normal practice (to) remove equipment for training from the spare unit . . . when a spare vehicle was not available equipment would be removed from an operational vehicle."

The investigation concluded that it was "beyond the scope of this investigation to determine if the absence of the oxygen resuscitation kit and defibrillator contributed to the inability to successfully resuscitate the child". However, the absence was "unlikely to have had a significant bearing on the outcome of the patient".

Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said the defibrillator should have been there, but evidence suggested the girl would have died anyway. "The Coroner actually investigated that matter as well and there were no adverse findings to the QAS," he said. However, neither his office, nor the Coroner would provide a copy of the report.

Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Queensland chairman David Rosengren said defibrillators were the key to preventing death in this instance, but cardiac arrests were generally a life-ending event. "Everybody knows somebody who's had a cardiac arrest and been resuscitated and survived but they are clearly in the minority," he said.


Huge Queensland ambulance foulup (2) -- one of three such reported in one day

LORRAINE Silman watched her husband die while a misdirected ambulance took 45 minutes to find their Mackay home. Bob Silman, 63, a wedding photographer and sugar mill groundskeeper, was stricken with a heart attack on November 2 last year and could not be revived. A dispatcher in another city ignored Mrs Silman's directions and sent paramedics to an address that didn't exist.

"The ambulance officer can't be blamed. The system failed us," Mrs Silman said. "If they'd got there in the time frame they should have, he would have stood a chance." Mrs Silman kept her husband alive at their Pleystowe home for 15 minutes using CPR while the ambulance was lost.

Mr Silman left behind his wife of 40 years, three children and three grandchildren. He didn't live to see a fourth grandchild born. Neighbours knew him as the generous man who gave away the vegies he loved to grow and entertained their children in a Santa suit at Christmas

Daughter Alison Silman said it was "an absolute joke" that ambulances didn't have GPS devices and couldn't find homes in well-established areas close to urban areas. "In this day and age, they should be able to know where to respond," Ms Silman said. "This is happening too often. It's not good enough. People's lives are on the line."

The ambulance centre had never corrected a typographical error showing the Silmans lived at No. 2 Griffiths St, when no such address existed. The family lived at No. 20. The family called twice to have the address corrected. Mrs Silman said the ambulance was also told by the family not to cross a landmark bridge and did not send a vehicle from the closest station. "They kept asking me if I was in Miriam Vale. That's nowhere near here," Mrs Silman said. "My husband was dying in front of me. I told the woman I had to get off the phone." Although the station was only 13 minutes away, it took 40-45 minutes, she said. "When they got there, he'd passed away," she said.

Stress after her husband's death took such a toll on Mrs Silman she needed to be hospitalised two weeks later. Her daughter said the family drove her to the hospital rather than risk another ambulance miscue. "I wouldn't trust them," Alison said. "I just lost my dad. I wasn't going to lose my mother too."

The family said they were frustrated to learn a cadet officer in Rockhampton took their emergency call and a mentor supervisor didn't listen to the call.

Mrs Silman has difficulty dealing with the experience and still doesn't sleep well. "It's hard to get through the trauma of that day. I don't think I'll ever get over it. I don't wish any other family to have to go through it," she said. She was frustrated ambulance staff were not more knowledgeable about places they were responsible for.

The Member for Mirani, Ted Malone, the shadow minister for emergency services, raised concerns about the Silman death in Parliament in December.


Huge Queensland ambulance foulup (3) -- one of three such reported in one day

Paramedic quits after being sent to the wrong city. Once again it's the management, not the men on the frontline who are at fault

PARAMEDICS were ready to break into a Mackay home to treat a suspected heart attack victim when they learned the emergency was actually in Brisbane. Eric Fleissig who later quit the Queensland Ambulance Service in disgust at its management and working conditions, said he was met by a startled and confused person when he attended a Code 1 emergency call. He said he went to an address provided by ambulance dispatchers where the resident told him he knew nothing about an emergency.

The paramedics queried the communication centre, which then realised that the street name was correct but the emergency was in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove and not the Mackay suburb of Andergrove. "It happens all the time," Mr Fleissig said. Paramedics say the QAS hasn't done enough to make sure the best maps and direction-finding equipment are available, or to train communications staff who know their areas.

QAS Commissioner David Melville said dispatch systems were not perfect but Queenslanders were given the best possible service regardless of where they lived. "I'd like to think we will get it perfect, but I can't give you a 100 per cent guarantee on it," he said. "We try to give the best possible service no matter where people are." [But HOW HARD do you try? Not very, given the frequency of stupid and dangerous foulups. As well as the three reported today, there was another one reported just a couple of days ago]


Major Australian conservative political party totally rejects any Warmist laws

The National party invariably forms part of a coalition with the Centre-Right "Liberal" party in government but tends in general to be farther Right. There are however many global-warming skeptics in the Liberal party too

Before we go north of the Tweed, however, let's duck down to Canberra where at the historic Hyatt Hotel, the Nationals yesterday wound up their peak federal council meeting.

And very successful it was too. In the words of the party's federal director Brad Henderson, in his report to conference: "A new treatment of our logo, new website, in our annual report and with a new visual identity our contemporary new look tells Australians that we are changing."

What that "changing" meant became clear as the weekend progressed. In danger of dying a demographic death the Nationals have decided to rededicate themselves to their base.

Again in Henderson's words: "The nub of the changes that we are making is about more assertively advocating the interests of regional Australia."

The trouble is that in doing so they will henceforth not only be seeking to differentiate themselves from Labor but from the Liberals and Turnbull too.

Henderson in his report was clear about this. This new course, he said, "will require protection from bad or clumsy policy because regional Australia has the most to lose from policies like Labor's emissions trading scheme."

The possessive noun "Labor's" as applied to the emissions trading scheme is cursory, of course. What the Nationals really mean is that they are opposed to any ETS: a position the Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce made clear yesterday morning when interviewed on the Nine Network.

Asked by Laurie Oakes whether the Nationals at the conference had decided they wouldn't vote for an emissions trading system under any circumstances, Joyce replied: "That is correct."

Translated, that is a one-finger salute to Turnbull. In other words, no matter what amendments or concessions he manages to negotiate with the Rudd government before the ETS comes back before the Senate in November, the Nationals won't be having a bar of it.

And what's more, said Joyce, making policy not so much on the run as at a gallop, if the Coalition does win government at the next election they'll be dismantling whatever ETS is in place anyway.


Violence censored by NSW police to give the public a false sense of security

This is reprehensible. People need all the information they can get in order to keep themselves as safe as possible. And the Leftist government is both behind it and lying about it

POLICE are censoring images of violent crimes to make the public feel safe on the streets. Police spin doctors have issued a blanket ban on releasing photos of criminals carrying weapons during attacks. Officers are also trained to play down violent incidents and public alerts are delayed by hours or days.

Experts said the first hours after a crime could be vital and the tight control of information meant some incidents were never solved.

Publican Peter Nellies, who had a gun repeatedly pointed at his head while his staff were held hostage for two terrifying hours, is angry about the cloak of silence police have thrown around the raid on his pub, the Bradbury Inn in Sydney's southwest. It took 11 hours before a bulletin was issued, giving the criminals a long head start before the public were alerted. Even then, despite the extreme violence, it was described as an "incident" in which people were "detained".

The changes came about last year when police radios were encrypted to keep details of raids secret and the media unit assumed total control of all information released to the public. Since then, carjackings have been described as "concerns for welfare", a violent robbery and shooting at Wentworthville was played down and the Lin family murder was kept secret for five hours before it was released as a "domestic related" incident.

The last time the media unit released images of a victim being terrorised with a weapon was in February 2005. The photograph of a commuter with a gun to his head in a daytime mugging at Harris Park train station appeared on the front page of The Daily Telegraph. Since then The Daily Telegraph has obtained similar frightening images taken during a Parramatta jewellery shop heist and a pub robbery at St Leonards but now even victims are being discouraged from releasing security camera vision. Police media advisers have admitted they would never release such photos due to a "protocol" that prevents the release of images showing the commission of a crime.

Former police officer Tim Priest said: "I have been complaining about the police media unit for years. Basically what it is is censorship. "It is not letting the public know there are dangerous offenders running around doing these sorts of things."

University of Western Sydney Bachelor of Policing degree co-ordinator Dr Mike Kennedy said the media unit was an extension of government. "They are more interested in doing the bidding of the Government," Dr Kennedy said.

A spokesman for Police Minister Tony Kelly denied there was a policy to censor or sanitise images or information about serious crimes.


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