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Paramedic suspended for failing to give emergency care to newborn baby

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

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A paramedic who was accused of failing to properly treat a newborn baby with breathing difficulties in Plymouth has been suspended for a year.

Robert Toney, who worked for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) at the time of the incident, faced three charges at a Conduct and Competence Committee hearing in relation to the care of the baby.

The Health and Care Professions Council heard that Mr Toney (HCPC) raced to an address in Plymouth after receiving an emergency call about a woman in labour.

But when he arrived he made no attempt to give the baby oxygen despite the fact that he was struggling to breathe, the panel heard.

In its ruling, the HCPC said: “The panel has concluded that the registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired.

“In the panel’s assessment the established misconduct is serious involving a disregard for fundamental and core duties with the potential of very serious harm. The seriousness has meant that there is still a continuing negative impact on the registrant’s fitness to practise.

“The panel is satisfied that the registrant expressed real and genuine remorse as he wanted to see the family after the event to see if the baby was alright.

“This is a serious case involving departures from fundamental duties. The seriousness has meant that there is a lasting effect making it necessary to impose a sanction and as such the panel excluded the option of taking no action.

“The panel concluded that a 12-month suspension order was appropriate in light of the seriousness of the case.”

Back in 2011, while working for Derriford ambulance station, a Health Professionals Council hearing cleared Mr Toney of failing to provide potentially lifesaving treatment for a baby who later died in hospital.

Mr Toney admitted not performing advanced life support (ALS) on the tiny infant and leaving the child in the care of an ambulance technician who was not qualified to carry out the procedures.

But he was cleared by the Health Professions Council after saying he knew the child was already dead and that resuscitation attempts would have no effect.

He admitted he did not carry out an intra osseous (IO) injection or discuss the child’s ongoing treatment with colleagues at the scene.

The HPC ruled that his lack of action was not evidence of a lack of competence or misconduct.

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