Apr 17, 2024

Grandfather’s tragic death sparks systematic changes to ambulance ramping

Grandfather’s tragic death sparks systematic changes to ambulance ramping
Courtesy of 9News

A report outlining a series of systematic failures that left a grandfather ramped at a Queensland hospital for three hours before his tragic death has sparked new recommendations regarding procedures in the Sunshine State.

Wayne Irving, a 67-year-old grandfather, was rushed to Ipswich Hospital with chest pains on a busy Thursday night in November. However, he found himself stranded in one of several ambulances queued up outside the emergency department. As precious time ticked away, his condition deteriorated, ultimately succumbing to an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Following his untimely passing, his daughter, Lauren Hansford, disclosed to 9News the family’s shock upon discovering that Irving hadn’t been promptly attended to upon arrival.

A subsequent review conducted by West Moreton Health delved into the circumstances surrounding Irving’s death, unearthing a myriad of deficiencies in the care he received.

Among the unsettling findings were the failure to conduct a timely medical assessment within the crucial initial 30 minutes, the oversight in considering an abdominal aortic aneurysm as a potential diagnosis, and the absence of adequate pain management protocols.

Hannah Bloch, the CEO of West Moreton Health, conveyed their commitment to learning from this tragedy and outlined a series of proactive measures to be implemented.

The recommendations are as follows: 

Development of Patient Service Model: By May 31, 2024, a comprehensive model outlining the responsibilities of the newly introduced medical commanders and ramp nurses will be established, ensuring efficient management of patients on the ramp within the Emergency Department.

Enhanced Opiate Use Protocol: The work instruction “Emergency Department Parenteral Opiate Use – Adults” will undergo a thorough review and update by May 31, 2024, focusing on safe opiate administration for patients awaiting treatment on the ramp.

Integration of Case Study in Triage Training: By July 31, 2024, Irving’s case will be incorporated into triage training programs to heighten awareness of presenting symptoms and associated mortality rates, fostering a culture of proactive patient care.

Optimisation of Social Work Resourcing: A review of the service model and resourcing of social work after hours in the Emergency Department will be conducted by July 31, 2024, with a view to enhancing patient experience and support.

Refinement of Clinical Incident Review Process: By June 30, 2024, a comprehensive review will be undertaken to streamline the process for determining the relevance of video footage in clinical incident reviews, facilitating more robust investigations into critical incidents.

In response to this grave incident, Premier Steven Miles assured the public of the health department’s unwavering dedication to improving services. 

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader David Crisafulli raised pertinent questions regarding the government’s negligence in adequately staffing hospitals facing dire shortages.

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