herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

I wasn't trained to deal with suffering and death, says driver for emergency doctors

A FORMER driver for doctors on emergency calls has brought a High Court action for damages claiming he wasn't properly prepared for suffering and death.

Martin Fahey (45), of College Avenue, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, is suing Carlow Emergency Doctors On Call Ltd, of Athy Road, Carlow, which employed him as a driver between May 2001 and April 2003.

He claimed he was repeatedly exposed to "traumatic scenes of human suffering" while attending traffic accidents, deaths and suicides. He also claimed he was subjected to bullying in his employment. The claims are denied.

He said he was obliged to drive at dangerous speeds and, in many respects, "perform like an ambulance driver" even though he had received no training for this work.

He claimed he suffered from stress and was deeply disturbed by some scenes he had to attend.

He suffered nightmares and flashbacks and continues to suffer, it was claimed.

In evidence yesterday, Mr Fahey said he was never trained and was never asked by his employer how he felt about his work. "I didn't know what I was getting into," he said.

He was called to a suicide where he saw a man hanging and in another incident, a doctor treating a serious head wound asked him to hold the patient's head. Mr Fahey said he felt as though his hand would stick to the man's head as the doctor had used a type of glue to treat the wound.



Bullying

In his action, Mr Fahey also claims he was the victim of repeated bullying and that his employer was negligent by not preventing such bullying.

He was diagnosed as suffering from anxiety disorder. He returned to work in January 2004, but was unable to cope. He is now on disability benefit.

It was claimed that the stress suffered by him during his employment precipitated health problems and activated a pre-existing vulnerability to mood disorder.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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