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999 errors resulted in baby’s death

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

After a 999 call-handler made fatal errors when answering a phone-call regarding a choking baby, the nine-month old baby tragically died as a result. Millie Thompson started choking while being fed Shepard’s pie at her nursery in October 2012, after which a nursery-worker phoned for assistance. Instead of categorizing the phone-call as urgent, ambulance worker Aaliyah Ormerod asked the caller the scripted questions and then failed to remain on the line to listen to the baby’s breathing.

It was heard at an inquest that Ms Ormerod should have alerted a “red response” immediately on hearing that the patient’s life was under threat. Instead, she asked only the basic questions and supposedly said: “Jeez, stop giving me information” after hanging up the phone. Ms Ormerod did not attend the hearing but was “devastated” to find out that her poor assistance resulted in the death of 9-month-old Millie.

Call handlers retrained on choking

It was heard that even though Ms Ormerod made a fatal error in not grading the phone-call as ‘urgent’, it would have made no practical difference to the time in which the ambulance would have arrived at the nursery.

The inquest also heard that Ms Ormerod had not been disciplined following the tragedy but that all call handlers had been retrained on incoming phone-calls regarding choking. Ms Ormerod returned to her role six months ago; yet a doctor ruled her unfit to provide evidence at the inquest. The hearing is due to continue soon.  

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