A West Midlands paramedic has been handed an eight month suspended sentence after failing to examine and start resuscitation on a man who collapsed outside a hospital emergency department.
Matthew Geary, 36, has admitted he failed to provide a “prompt and proper” examination of 47-year-old Carl Cope, who collapsed and died outside Walsall Manor Hospital in June 2012.
Geary was one of the paramedics who had transported Mr Cope to hospital after responding to a 999 call after he collapsed from chest pains near his home.
West Midlands Police have released video footage from outside the hospital (see video, below) which shows Geary at one point standing with his hands in his pockets as Mr Cope dies of a heart attack in front of him.
The police said the video showed “the shocking lack of care shown by Matt Geary”.
Geary admitted in December failing in his relevant duty of care to Mr Cope and was sentenced yesterday to an eight month suspended sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 240 hours community service.
Footage from the hospital waiting room shows Mr Cope struggling to make himself comfortable and in a lot of pain. After seven minutes, he left to get a drink from a nearby shop.
On his way back through the car park − in full view of Geary who was sat inside his ambulance – Mr Cope collapsed outside the hospital doors.
Geary then watched from the ambulance as Mr Cope remained on the ground for more than 30 seconds. After getting to his feet, Mr Cope manages a few steps before collapsing for a second time.
A West Midlands Police statement said: “Geary, fully aware he brought Mr Cope to the hospital suffering from chest pains, is finally seen on CCTV going to his patient.
“He takes no equipment with him and stands over Mr Cope, with his hands in his pockets, talking to him for two minutes. Geary takes a closer look at Mr Cope and then wrongly asks the hospital security to deal with him, before returning to his ambulance.
“When the security guard is seen arriving five minutes later, Carl Cope did not appear to be showing any signs of life.”
A post-mortem revealed Mr Cope died of a heart attack. Expert evidence indicated that had his chest pain been considered cardiac and had he been monitored his chances of survival would have been significantly higher.
Geary was among five ambulance and hospital staff arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in December 2012 in connection with Mr Cope’s death. However, detectives were unable to proceed with the manslaughter charges because there was a chance Mr Cope may not have survived his heart attack.
Detective inspector Justin Spanner said in a statement: “We had seen the CCTV footage of Carl collapsing and listened to his 999 call. Carl had been treated very poorly and we were determined the circumstances surrounding his death were not simply swept under the carpet.
“Geary did nothing on that day to care for him and there is a chance that if he had actually done something, then Carl would still be alive today.”
Charges against an ambulance worker and a nurse in relation to Mr Cope’s death were later dropped.
A total of 11 NHS staff from Walsall Healthcare Trust and West Midlands Ambulance Service were suspended over the incident. Five were later sacked, four received written warnings and one resigned.