A former paramedic has admitted failing to follow protocol when he stopped treating a seven year-old Doncaster girl who died after suffering a severe asthma attack.
Izabelle Easen, known as Bella, died from a massive cardiac arrest following the attack at her home in Thorne, on April 9, 2008.
Paramedic James McKenna was struck off for failing to continue CPR on Bella until she got to hospital.
Giving evidence at her inquest in Doncaster today, Mr McKenna admitted he failed to follow the correct procedure but claimed there was nothing more he could do.
The hearing was told Bella had complained to her mother Lorna Easen that she was struggling to breathe at around 2am and was given her nebuliser and medication.
Around 30 minutes later, Bella collapsed and her mother immediately called 999, and paramedics attended the address eight minutes after the call.
Mr McKenna was first on the scene and carried out CPR for approximately 10 minutes before concluding that nothing else could be done to save the youngster.
But the inquest heard that it was protocol for paramedics treating a child to carry on with life support until the point when the child is brought to hospital.
Giving evidence in court, Mr McKenna said that when he arrived at 3.13am Bella was “pale, with blue lips and unresponsive” but he started to perform basic life support and asked a police officer to do chest compressions on Bella.
He said: “There was nothing more we could do. I carried on with CPR but soon knew there was not going to be a response.
“Because of her age, I now know it is protocol that she should have been transferred to hospital but I was under the impression that because of her age she would be classed as an adult – she wasn’t a baby.”
He added: “Bella should have been transferred to hospital but I don’t think it would have made much difference because of the tests I carried out.”
But the court heard that Mr McKenna had received a great deal of training and should have known which procedure to follow.
Two advanced technicians, who arrived minutes after Mr McKenna, described their “shock” and “surprise” that Mr McKenna had given up on CPR so quickly.
Stephen Harrison, who arrived at Bella’s home minutes after Mr McKenna, said: “I felt something was amiss but there was nothing I could do about it.”
Asked if he had been told that CPR had been performed for around 10 minutes Mr Harrison said: “I would have said ‘let me carry on with CPR’.”
Dr Simon Taggart, a respiratory medicine specialist who investigated the death, said while the youngster only had a five per cent chance of survival children were robust and should be given every chance.
He added: “If she has a five per cent chance of survival failing [to follow protocol] would have contributed to her death.”
At the close of evidence, Mr McKenna was asked by Assistant Coroner Michael Mellun if he wanted to add anything.
Mr McKenna said: “I am sorry for the way it turned out. I did what I thought was right.”
Mr Mellun said he recognised Mr McKenna had made gross failures in failing to follow protocol, but on the balance of probabilities, it would not have changed the tragic outcome.
He said: “In the case of a child there is clear training in guidance from Yorkshire Ambulance Service that basic life support should be followed by advanced life support and that the child should be conveyed to hospital – that is the only option.
“That training is also given to technicians. The two technicians were told that no further life support would be performed and they had to accept, given the hierarchy that existed.”
He added: “I am satisfied there was a gross failure to provide basic medical treatment and I take the view that, as this was a seven year-old child, there were clear protocols in place.
Recording a narrative verdict, he said: “Whilst the continuation of basic life support, followed by advanced life support and conveyance to hospital would have advanced her prospects of survival, on the balance of probabilities it is unlikely she would have survived.”
Bella’s mother, Lorna Robinson, could not attend the inquest.