Paramedic faces misconduct hearing over patient treatment

A paramedic facing a string of misconduct offences, including telling a patient he was ‘not a taxi service’, was today facing a competency board hearing.

Karl Richards, who worked for West Midlands Ambulance Service, was set to appear before the panel last year in relation to alleged breaches surrounding three patients in 2014 - but the case was adjourned for 12 months.

He's now been called to attend a Health and Care Professions Tribunals Service hearing today, which could continue until the end of the week. Mr Richards worked for the trust as a paramedic between 2010 and 2014.

The first incident in question took place on January 19, 2014, when he was called to a woman suffering a severe nose bleed. He was said to have told her to ‘calm down and the nose bleed might stop’ while it was also deemed he acted beyond the ‘scope of practice’ when he placed a folded gauze in the patient’s nose replacing it up to seven times.

Further allegations included failing to immobilise her for nearly two hours despite continued bleeding, making the woman walk 40 metres to the ambulance in bed socks, failing to offer her a wheelchair, and taking her to hospital without a seatbelt on.

Mr Richards’ actions five days later on January 24 in relation to someone suffering chest and back pain also raised concerns. The paramedic is accused of moving the person to another room without carrying out a physical examination or clinical observation, then telling the person ‘we are not a taxi service’ when they asked to go to hospital.

The HCPTS stated he left the property without ‘attempting to defuse the situation’, taking safeguarding measures and advising the patient or their family what to do if the condition got worse.

The third incident which was flagged to regulators took place on February 4, 2014, when tending to a patient who had suffered a fall. Mr Richards allegedly failed to asses the person and left them at home without offering to take them to hospital. The HCPTS summarised the failings saying:

“Your actions were inappropriate and/or were not in the best interest of the patient.

“The matters constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.”

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