Ambulance 53 mins late to drowning

AN investigation has been launched into the drowning of a two-year-old boy at Eidsvold on Monday, after an ambulance was given the wrong address and arrived nearly an hour late.

Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Assistant Commissioner Chris Broomfield said a Triple-0 call was logged at the Maroochydore communication centre at 1.35pm after the boy fell into a cattle dip on a rural property.

Ambulance officers from Eidsvold were transferring a patient to Bundaberg and could not respond, so an ambulance was dispatched from Mundubbera at 1.36pm — a trip that should have taken no more than 40 minutes.

Ten minutes later, the Bundaberg-based AGL Action rescue helicopter was also sent out, with Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and police responding moments afterwards.

“At 2.15pm, QFRS arrived on the scene and took over CPR until QAS arrived on scene in the helicopter at 2.36pm. It was at this time an error was identified in the address provided by the QAS Communication Centre,” Mr Broomfield said.

The Mundubbera ambulance was immediately given the correct address, but it did not arrive until 3.09pm — more than twice the scheduled response time.

“The QAS is conducting a full investigation into the provision of the wrong address,” Mr Broomfield said.

It is estimated the boy could have been in the dip for up to 30 minutes when he was found, and he was unconscious and not breathing when found. There is no suggestion that an earlier response time may have saved his life.

“The child’s death is a tragedy and the Queensland Ambulance Service offers its sincere sympathies to the family,” Mr Broomfield said.

“Further, the QAS today contacted the Health Quality and Complaints Commission regarding the matter, for the purpose of a full external review.”

A coronial inquiry will also be held.

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