A senior paramedic has apologised to the family of Brooke O’Connor after the heartless comment and said ‘lessons have been learned’
(Image: Family photo)
A distraught mum who pleaded with a paramedic to help her daughter was told “she’s dead, what’s the rush?”, an inquest heard last week.
North West Ambulance Service was called to the address of 23-year-old Brooke O’Connor in Fleetwood after her brother broke into the house and found his sister unresponsive. Brooke’s family had raced to the scene and broke into the house through the back door after concerns were raised about her welfare.
When the first ambulance arrived on the scene Brooke’s mum Stacey had pleaded with paramedics to help her daughter. “Do something, help her,” she cried. “She’s dead, what’s the rush?” the male paramedic replied.
An inquest held at Preston Coroner’s Court on Friday (November 18) heard how the delay in the paramedic going into Brooke’s house had been a result of him having to put on his personal protective clothing.
“When the ambulance came it was Covid rules,” Stacey said. “I was hysterical, I was screaming ‘she’s dead, she’s dead, help her’ which I know didn’t make sense but I was distraught. The paramedic’s words were ‘she’s dead, what’s the rush?’.”
The inquest heard that “lessons have been learned” and the paramedic in question had been spoken to. As a result of the incident paramedics were advised to put on their PPE before arriving at a scene to avoid causing further distress to relatives.
Senior Paramedic Catherine Spencer said: “We did learn from this incident and [the paramedic] was spoken to. Things like that shouldn’t be said.”
The inquest, which concluded Brooke’s death was a suicide, also heard that Brooke’s mum Stacey had “lost all respect and admiration” for the police as a result of what happened on the day she was found dead. As devout Catholics Brooke’s family had arranged for their priest to attend but he was denied entry when he asked if he could give Brooke her last rites.
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“Since that day my respect and admiration for the police has gone,” Stacey said. “We are practising Catholics and on that day the first person to arrive was the priest. He wanted to give Brooke her last rites and the police officers wouldn’t allow him near her. Our priest has served in the Falklands and said prayers over mass graves and he said he’s never experienced a police officer deny anybody of their last rites.”
The inquest heard that, as police had refused the priest’s request in order to preserve what they thought could potentially be a crime scene, he had offered to say prayers from the hallway but this was also denied. Detective Inspector Steve Harry apologised to Brooke’s family and said: “I’m extremely disappointed you feel that way. Had I been aware I could have made some arrangements afterwards.”
A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Brooke’s family, who sadly lost their daughter under such tragic circumstances, and would be willing to discuss the case in more detail with them if they would like to do so.”
- 07:53, 20 NOV 2022
- UPDATED08:07, 20 NOV 2022