Medic with bad back ‘failed to help dying 14-year-old girl’

Paul Cheston, Courts Correspondent
8 Dec 2011

Paramedics refused to carry a 14-year-old girl who collapsed and died during a cross-country run blaming “health and safety”, an inquest heard today.

Shannon Powell suffered a seizure during the Middlesex Cross Country Championships at Trent Park, Enfield.

However, it took almost an hour for an ambulance to arrive and then paramedics walked “incredibly slowly” to where Shannon had collapsed, the hearing was told.

The paramedics then said they could not move Shannon for “health and safety” reasons because one of them had a bad back, the inquest heard.

A First Aider and his team managed to calm
Shannon down, but said that when paramedics put her on the trolley she “sat bolt upright and screamed”.

The First Aiders were so exasperated by the London Ambulance Service paramedics that one of them said “f*** health and safety, let’s get her off”, the inquest was told. The access gates to the park were locked, which meant the ambulance could not get in so six people had to carry Shannon on a trolley down the longest route to the vehicle because it was hilly, North London coroner’s court was told.

Shannon’s condition deteriorated on the way to the ambulance and “one second she was there, the next she was gone,” the inquest heard.

Shannon, a Year 10 pupil at Northwood College, was representing Ealing, Southall and Middlesex Athletics Club in the girls’ under-15 race and was just three weeks from her 15th birthday.

She died from a form of heart disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, the inquest was told.

Race volunteer Catherine Sheppard was first at the scene after Shannon collapsed on January 8 this year. She said: “The response of the London Ambulance Service was it was against health and safety. At that point I felt very irritated and annoyed. It was the female paramedic’s health and safety and her back was an issue.”

The inquest continues.

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