herald

Wednesday 25 April 2018

999 crew told mum to give dying son 7UP

A MUM has told how she was advised to give her fatally ill son 7UP after she called an ambulance to bring him to hospital.

Grieving Maria Sala called an ambulance on two occasions for son Leonardo but she wept at his inquest yesterday as she told how personnel on the first ambulance suggested she give him the soft drink.

Leonardo (11) of Mount Andrew Court in Lucan, Co Dublin, died of acute inflammation of the colon, secondary to chronic constipation at the Children's University Hospital in Temple Street, Dublin, on July 21 last year -- a day after the ambulance call.

Recording a narrative verdict, a summary of the facts surrounding the case, Dublin city coroner Dr Brian Farrell said there seemed to have been a "communications issue" involved.

The inquest was told Mrs Sala called an ambulance just before 5pm on the day before his death as Leonardo, called Leo, had diarrhoea and vomiting.

A Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance attended at the family home at 5.14pm, but did not take the boy, who had an underlying condition called mitochondrial disease, to hospital.

A different ambulance went to the Sala home at 10.27pm, after a second call was made to the emergency services, and the boy was taken to Tallaght Hospital, accompanied by his father. He was transferred to the Temple Street hospital for intensive care where he died the next day.

A tearful Mrs Sala said she asked the first crew to take her son to hospital and "was expecting the ambulance would take him straight away".

She said the ambulance (person) said there was "not a problem" and that her son needed water and 7Up.

"The way the young man explained the situation. He was so confident...so sure there was no problem...they (the parents) did not ask him to take the child (to hospital)," said her interpreter George Mopinga.

Paramedic Gary Mason, who was on the first ambulance, told the coroner he had no recollection of the incident. An ambulance crew could never refuse to take a patient to hospital and he could not have left the house if Mrs Sala was asking him to take Leo to hospital, he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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