Reilly does not rule out ‘human error’ as factor

A National Ambulance Service review into how an ambulance couldn’t be sent for a two-year-old boy who had fallen from a window will bring reassurance to people living in East Cork, according to the health minister.

James Reilly didn’t rule out that “human error” could have been a factor.

“I believe that arising out of that we will see whattruly happened there and we can improve and make sure that, if mistakes were made, that they are not made again,” he said.

“We will always have a certain degree of human error within a system that’s operated by human beings”.

Mr Reilly admitted a new system may have to be put in place if systems failings are found in the review.

“What we need to do is put in place a system that minimises the impact of those errors on the patients and the clients who use the service and that’s our continuing goal, and we will be tackling this aggressively and I expect a full independent report and I expect it very quickly,” he said.

When a neighbour of the Midleton-based Martinaitis family rang ambulance control looking for an emergency vehicle, he was told, even though the child had fallen from a first-floor window, that they would have to drive the boy to the GP co-op, Southdoc. Southdoc then sent Vikaris Martinaitis, again by car, to CUH’s emergency department.

Last night, asked why it was not seen necessary to use a neck brace or spine board before transporting the boy to hospital, the HSE refused to comment saying the review was under way and that an ambulance had been available at the time of the 999 call last Monday.

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