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Thursday, 28 June 2018

Retired paramedic tells inquest he 'made mistakes' in treatment of woman in cardiac arrest

Written by Henry Clare

A retired paramedic has told an inquest he did "make mistakes" in the way that he treated a mother who suffered a cardiac arrest following family court proceedings.

Gary Long was the first medical professional to treat Hayley Gascoigne, who suddenly collapsed in the upper concourse of Hull Combined Court Centre on January 26 2017 after attending a family court hearing.

During an inquest at Hull Coroner's Court, yards from where the incident took place, police officers claimed that Mr Long appeared to "not appreciate the severity of the incident" when he treated the 32-year-old.

Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Cockerill, of Humberside Police, said: "I could tell, through experience of having dealt with medical colleagues for many years, that something did not appear right.

"Just from the expression on his face, something was not how it should be."

Mr Long, who was a senior paramedic at the time of the incident, told coroner Professor Paul Marks that he did not take a green bag with cardiac equipment to the incident as he believed Miss Gascoigne (pictured) had suffered a fit.

The court had previously heard how, prior to the 60-year-old arriving, a security guard and retired nurse had performed CPR on the patient, but stopped when it appeared that she was breathing.

Speaking on the first day of the inquest, which is expected to last until Friday, Mr Long said: "Nobody had mentioned anything about CPR previously, or mentioned (whether she was) breathing or not breathing."

He claimed that he did not recognise the patient was suffering a cardiac arrest until he knelt down beside her and noticed that her pupils were "massively dilated".

He said that he had connected "dots" to Miss Gascoigne in a bid to get an ECG reading, which supposedly recorded that her heart was beating at a "shockable rhythm", meaning that a defibrillator could be used.

Mr Long, who has more than 25 years' experience as a paramedic, told the court that although he had studied the reading, he failed to appreciate that the mother of four's heart was beating at a shockable pace, and therefore did not proceed to attach pads and begin defibrillation.

When asked why this had happened, he said: "I find it hard to explain and I cannot understand it myself."

The then-paramedic, who retired in November 2017, also claimed he committed an "oversight" when he failed to attach an oxygen mask to Miss Gascoigne, of Baildon Road in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.

The court heard how Mr Long's colleagues arrived at the scene shortly after he had started CPR and, despite the patient being taken to Hull Royal Infirmary, she was declared dead soon after.

Commenting on an incident report, which was carried out on behalf of Yorkshire Ambulance Service and found that the patient could have survived with correct treatment, he tearfully admitted: "Obviously I did make mistakes, but I find that report to be very, very biased."

The inquest continues on Thursday.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Family Handout / PA Wire.