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DUTY OF AMBULANCE OFFICERS

See Masson v State of Queensland 23/7/18 [2018] QSC 162 where P “suffered hypoxic brain damage as a result of a severe asthma attack. It is alleged she would have avoided the injury if ambulance officers who attended upon her had administered adrenaline promptly to her. Their decision not to do so is said to have been contrary to Queensland Ambulance Service … guidelines and a breach of the QAS’s duty of patient care” @1. Henry J found no breach of duty stating “The asthma guideline did not require adrenaline to be administered. It prompted consideration of the administration of adrenaline. The administration of adrenaline was considered but rejected by reason of the concerning presence of tachycardia and hypertension. The presence of those conditions would have been regarded by a responsible body of opinion in the medical profession as supporting the view that Ms Masson’s high heart rate and high blood pressure, in the context of her overall condition, provided a medically sound basis to prefer the administration of salbutamol to the administration of adrenaline at the time of initial treatment. Opting to administer salbutamol in preference to adrenaline in those circumstances was a reasonable response to the known risks” @151. It “is important to bear in mind ambulance officers are not medical practitioners who are specialists in emergency medicine” @152. If breach of duty had been established “that breach was likely a material contributing cause of Ms Masson’s injury” @182.