Ambulance delay not to blame for tragedy

An inquest has heard that the tragic death of a teenager probably could not have been prevented even if medical help had arrived sooner.

Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:22 am
Flowers on North Road, left for Kyle Lowes

Sixteen-year-old Kyle Lowes, from Eyemouth, was killed when his scooter was involved in a collision with a car on North Road, Berwick, in January 2015.

The inquest, held in Berwick last week, heard that an ambulance just three minutes away from the scene was asked not to attend because the staff were on a break.

Instead, a community paramedic was called from 17 miles away in Wooler – which arrived 26 minutes later.

However, Tony Brown, senior coroner for North Northumberland, said: “The forensic pathologist, Dr Nigel Cooper, found the medical cause of Kyle’s death was due to a blunt head injury and gave his view that the severity of Kyle’s injuries and the distance from major trauma hospital meant it was unlikely that the fatal outcome for Kyle would have been any different had the paramedics been able to arrive sooner.”

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The coroner heard Kyle had driven to Berwick to meet friends and after eating at McDonald’s rode his scooter towards the town.

The collision happened at the junction with Magdalene Drive around 10pm when the driver of a Vauxhall Astra turned directly into the path of Kyle’s scooter.

Emergency services were called at 10.02pm by a witness.

An ambulance crew was not called by ambulance control from the nearby Berwick ambulance station because they had been stood down for their meal break at 10pm. Due to employment rules they could not be contacted.

An alternative paramedic was directed from Wooler who attended at 10.28pm, followed very shortly after by the Berwick crew who had on a private request from the Wooler paramedic, agreed to come off their meal break.

Despite determined attempts at resuscitation Kyle could not be revived and his death was pronounced at 10.56pm.

Mr Brown heard police evidence which suggested Kyle was wearing a helmet but, as it came off in the collision, it was probably not completely fastened on.

He also heard that the North East Ambulance Service has reciprocal arrangements in place for the Scottish Ambulance Service to attend incidents on the English side of the border and vice versa but that in this instance a Scottish ambulance travelling from Chirnside would not have provided any quicker response than the paramedic travelling from Wooler.

A narrative conclusion was recorded.