Philosophy of The Big Society

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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Paramedics decide to let man die

Have had this story sent through to me.

"Two ambulance medics have been arrested for allegedly failing to treat a dying man because "he was not worth saving".

Ambulance controllers overheard a private conversation between the crew members in which they supposedly made disparaging remarks about the victim's untidy home, allegedly failed to attempt to resuscitate him, and then apparently decided to claim he was already dead when they arrived.

Barry Baker, 59, dialled 999 from his home in Patcham, near Brighton in the early hours of November 29 and said that he was suffering from severe chest pains.

Controllers sent a paramedic and ambulance technician immediately, and although Mr Baker collapsed while talking on the phone, the line to the control centre was left open as he lay on the floor.

Minutes later the control staff heard the crew enter the house. A police source said: "What they heard after their ambulance crew arrived frankly astonished them.

"Apparently their first reaction was to comment on the untidy and unkempt state of the house. Then they are heard to comment on seeing Mr Baker and allegedly saying that it was not worth bothering to try to carry out resuscitation to try to save him. They then are heard discussing what to tell ambulance control and allegedly decide to say that he was already dead when they arrived.

"Obviously the crew did not realise that the phone was still connected and, of course, the 999 call was all recorded on tape," said the source.

The unnamed ambulance staff were arrested after the tape was handed to the Sussex Police Major Crime Team.

They have been suspended from duty and a file has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider prosecuting the pair for wilfully neglecting to perform a duty in public office.

Police confirmed the two medics, both based at Brighton ambulance station, were detained on December 5, six days after Mr Baker's death. They were later freed on bail until next month, pending further inquiries.

A spokesman said: "The men, aged 35 years and 44 years and from the Brighton area, have been arrested and questioned following the death of a man in Brighton. They were detained on suspicion of wilfully neglecting to perform a duty in public office, contrary to Common Law."

A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance NHS Trust said that both men had been suspended from duty.

"We have suspended two male members of staff from duty as police conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a man at his home. We are giving the police our full co-operation in this matter and are not in a position to comment further at this time due to the police investigation taking place."

His funeral has been delayed but a memorial service is due to take place next month."


  1. That is shocking Mandy, I feel for his family having to know he might have been saved if they had done their job.

  2. I hope the b******s get sent down for 20 years. No-one is "not worth" saving.

  3. It is quite frightening to think that when a life is on the line that people can and will judge others - some of whom will judge them as unnecessary and then let them die.

    I admire paramedics. They were always great with my Mum, actually with me and my Dad too when she needed their attention (which was a fair bit). When she was dying (so my Dad told me) they did all they could to save her, as did the hospital staff.

    I only hope what happened to this poor man is a one off and that paramedics remain the empathetic and dedicated people they have shown themselves to be, whilst doing a hard but essential job.

    And I hope these particular excuses for paramedics get sent down too. Not that that will bring the man back or, as Lareve, wrote stop his family's pain and distress.