Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Human error to blame in child's death

Reported on a number of US news sites including Why Lincoln in an article by Matt McFarland on 25 July 2009.

It took nearly half an hour for an ambulance to reach the scene of an accident where a child cyclist was hit by a car. The child probably had little chance of, but the slow response 'outraged' the city's mayor who set up a a task force to investigate.

The task force report says the cause was "human error, mainly a mistake by a Mohawk Ambulance dispatcher" who did not realise there was not an ambulance available and so failed to initiate a mutual aid arrangement with neighbouring counties.

What is interesting is that despite an individual being identified as making an error a number of quite significant system changes are being made as a result. They include:

* increasing staffing at ambulance dispatch for evening and overnight shifts.
* purchasing two additional Albany fire department radios so those in the ambulances can speak with EMTs on scene.
* each ambulance will now be equipped with GPS navigational units.
* investment in computer software which when a call comes in, can identify where the closest ambulance is, give directions and even estimate a response time.

Following the incident the dispatcher was "re-trained and counseled."

Andy Brazier