A paramedic pronounced a 70-year-old woman dead despite her heart still beating because he did not want to perform CPR on muddy ground flecked with bird poo, a tribunal has heard.
Rick Clark was among four paramedics called to Lake Victoria in Maryborough, Victoria, in 2020 when the woman collapsed on a bench, the Melbourne City News reported.
Mr Clarke told colleagues that he ‘didn’t think it was really worth starting’ resuscitation, according to documents filed at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
A paramedic pronounced a 70-year-old woman dead despite her heart still beating because he did not want to perform CPR on muddy ground flecked with bird poo, a tribunal has heard (file picture)
One of his colleagues replied that it didn’t ‘feel right’ not to attempt to save the woman, however an internal investigation found Mr Clark told a clinician that there was a ‘consensus’ to not attempt CPR.
‘The consensus was to call it because we’re not going to start CPR,’ Mr Clark said, before telling a radio dispatcher to cancel other crews that were on the way.
The paramedic said he also decided against CPR because the woman was overweight and the nearby ground had bird poo on it, the tribunal heard.
The tribunal was also told that Mr Clark later told investigators that he did not regret his actions and would do the same again in similar circumstances.
Lawyers for the Paramedicine Board of Australia said Mr Clark had a ‘lack of remorse’ and that he knew his actions would lead to the woman’s death.
Mr Clark’s lawyers argued that the other paramedics on the scene that day were also partly to blame, adding that he now ‘accepts his role in the outcome’.
The paramedic was suspended from work shortly after the woman’s death and that he had stopped working in healthcare.
The tribunal banned him from being registered as a paramedic for five years. He is also banned from providing health care – including first aid – for the same length of time.
An inquest was not held into the woman’s death.