Equipment Failure Causes Accident at Work for Paramedic

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After suffering an accident during the course of his employment, our client, a paramedic for the Scottish Ambulance Service, was referred to Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland by his union so we could pursue personal injury compensation on his behalf.

The accident at work occurred in March 2020 in Longstone, Edinburgh.

The background

On the date of the work accident our client and a colleague had been called to attend a patient who was having difficulty breathing. The patient was located in a first-floor flat that was not serviced by a lift.

After arriving in their ambulance, our client and another paramedic assessed and gave initial treatment to the patient. It was decided that the patient should be taken to hospital for further care as a matter of urgency because the patient was very unwell.

The patient had to be transported down the stairs using an Ibex chair as he was unable to walk himself. An Ibex chair is a specific piece of equipment kept in the ambulance. It has no armrests and the patient is strapped in with a belt. The chair has four wheels with caterpillar tracks which allow it to be manoeuvered down stairs. Handles on the chair allow one staff member to hold the back and another to hold the front so that it can be moved safely down stairs with the patient on board. It is a standard piece of equipment kept in each ambulance.

The two paramedics began the patient transport. Our client took the back of the chair, where the majority of the weight would be felt, and his colleague was at the front, reversing down the stairs. Almost immediately, his colleague noticed something was wrong and without warning the chair veered violently to the right. The chair, patient and two ambulance crew members fell down the stairs. They came to rest approximately ten steps down, on a mid-stair landing.

Our client lost consciousness following the fall for around 10 seconds, but he and his colleague attended to the patient as a matter of priority and another ambulance crew was called.

As they waited for the other ambulance, our client realised he had suffered two cuts and was experiencing pain in his right shin. He was taken to the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary where he was examined and treated.

The consequences

In the days following the accident at work, our client suffered pain and a small scar remained on his leg.

Examination of the Ibex chair revealed that the wheel had sheared off and this, ultimately, led to the accident.

Our client had suffered a sprain to his wrist and abrasion to his leg. Ongoing symptoms included headaches and situational anxiety.

The settlement

In light of the circumstances of the accident and our client's injuries, Thompsons' personal injury solicitors intimated a claim to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Liability was not admitted but the defender stated a willingness to settle the claim without prejudice.

A personal injury compensation sum of £6,500 was agreed on 1 August 2022.

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