Paramedic sentenced over hospital death

11/02/2015

A paramedic, who pleaded guilty to failing to discharge his duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of a patient who collapsed and died of a heart attack, has today been jailed at Wolverhampton Crown Court to eight months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work

Matthew Geary, aged 36 and from Great Wyrley, Walsall was on duty as a paramedic on 23 June 2012 when the deceased, Carl Cope, called for an ambulance as he was suffering from chest pains.

The defendant attended the call and transported the victim to the Accident and Emergency Department at Walsall Manor Hospital.

Following an initial assessment by medical staff at the hospital, Mr Cope was asked to wait in the reception area, but he complained of not feeling well and left the department to get a drink.

On his way back, he collapsed and died in the roadway outside A and E  in full view of Mr Geary who left him lying there unattended.

Following a review of the procedures which should have been followed by all those concerned, Geary was arrested and charged with failing to discharge a relevant duty to which he pleaded guilty on 15 December 2014.

Jayne Salt, Head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit, said: "Members of the public should have the confidence that when they require medical assistance they receive a professional service with a high level of care. Unfortunately, Matthew Geary failed to provide either and Mr Cope died without being given the attention he deserved.

"Paramedics and technicians are trained to following procedures when conveying a suspected heart attack victim to a hospital and to ensure the handover to medical staff in the hospital is correctly handled.

"Our thoughts are today with the family and friends of Mr Cope."