September 16, 2007 12:00am
CLIFF Davis, a scuba diver suffering a heart attack and bubbles on the brain in a case of the bends was refused an ambulance.
Scuba diver Cliff Davis was told he required a referral from a doctor after calling 000 and pleading for help.
Partially paralysed and disorientated, Mr Davis instead decided to drive one-handed for an hour to hospital. He was kept in hospital for three days.
Moments before making the 000 call, Mr Davis had been told by The Alfred hospital's hyperbaric unit consultants, whom he had phoned for advice, that he needed an ambulance and oxygen as an emergency.
A transcript of the 000 call seen by the Sunday Herald Sun reveals the call-taker decided to ignore that information. And a letter shows Metropolitan Ambulance Service professional standards manager Paul Bean informed Mr Davis that because he had said flashing lights and sirens were not required, the case had not been treated as an emergency.
State Opposition health spokeswoman Helen Shardey said Mr Davis's case was a shocking indictment.
"If the shortage of ambulances is so bad that dispatchers are forced to deny patients a service, even against medical advice, Health Minister Daniel Andrews should be hanging his head in shame," she said.
Mr Davis, 43, had been diving off Rye last month when he felt sharp chest pains.
"on my way to hospital I was still numb down my right side. I was angry, anxious and totally disorientated. Anything could have happened," he said.
"Who is this call-taker to diagnose me against the advice of experts?"
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/ ... 62,00.html
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