THE Queensland Ambulance Service has hit back at claims Emerald paramedics got lost and bogged on rural dirt roads south-west of the town, wasting valuable time as they tried to reach a grazier critically injured in a horse riding accident late last week.
QAS Central Region assistant commissioner Peter Warrener said concerns raised at Monday’s meeting of the Central Highlands Regional Council about the circumstances surrounding the QAS response time to the incident were groundless. “We always do an internal review of a case to get a good idea of what went wrong or right, and in this case nothing went wrong,” said AC Warrener.
Pastoralist Ian Kirby sustained severe head trauma and internal injuries last Friday afternoon when his horse fell and rolled on top of him at his property Glenyarran, in the Lochington district.
AC Warrener said the closer Springsure and Gemfields stations were attending to cases when the Triple Zero call was received at 3.25pm and a decision was made to dispatch a crew from Emerald.
“One of the guys in the crew that responded is a local fellow from Springsure who works in Emerald and he had local knowledge of the area, and of the property,” he said.
“The crew did not get lost; he knew where he was going.
“The crew arrived at the property at 5.18pm, and because the road into the property was very wet and boggy, unfortunately our car became bogged 300m from the patient.
“At the same time they arrived, the chopper arrived as well.
“In this particular situation where there was a patient requiring care prior to an ambulance arriving, we had a regional operations supervisor (also a qualified intensive care paramedic)... and they were giving critical airway management advice to the lady (Mr Kirby’s wife Deanne).
“Under the circumstances, she did a sterling job in such a horrible situation.”
RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue crewman Brad Nagy said Mr Kirby was lying on a muddy track, “moving and responding to certain things but unable to talk”.
“He was not fully responsive,” Mr Nagy said.
Mr Nagy said Mr Kirby was taken to Emerald before being sedated and transferred to an RFDS fixed wing aircraft for the flight to Brisbane, where he remains in a critical condition in the intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandria Hospital.
Central Highlands councillor Penny Bulger, who resides in the area, raised the concerns of the Lochington community about ambulance response times and local knowledge of roads in the wake of Mr Kirby’s accident at the council meeting.
Mayor Peter Maguire said representatives from all emergency services – ambulance, police and fire –would be invited to meet with council to explain systems used to identify property locations when responding to rural callouts.
“Obviously we’ve got to try and get to the bottom of how their (the QAS) system works and (if there is a problem) that’s what we’re trying to find out.
“We need to know what happens here and what information they’re going on, and is there some way council can make it better because we’re talking about people in our... area.”
The sale of the Kirbys’ 14,458 hectare property, which was to go to auction this Friday with Ray White Rural, has been postponed.
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