Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Good news for family and friends of Jamie Neale in Australia

In the past I've posted several blogs about David Iredale, the young Aussie who was lost in the Blue Mountains. He called 0-0-0 (our 9-1-1) from his cell phone begging for assistance 5 (five) times but was later found dead from lack of water. Recently another young man went missing (Jamie Neale) along it seems the same trail in Australia. Hard for me to speculate as I live in a different hemisphere. But! Fortunately Jamie Neale has been found.

The article below talks about the dispatchers and call takers who handled David's calls. It's seems as if the inquest into David's death is ending. They mention a "lack of empathy" and allude to a certain callousness in the call takers. Now, most of the call takers and dispatchers that I've met in our journeys are hard working, diligent and dedicated individuals who continually look for ways to improve their comm centers. That's good news.

SADLY not all people are cut out for this profession. And that's one reason why we are fighting so hard for mandatory, standardized training and certification. Yes, there will always be human error. But! We need to minimize those errors!

I'll get off my soapbox.

Dear Neale family, I'm very happy you found your son. You've been going through hell, I'm sure. I'm glad that hell is over.

Dear Iredale family, I'm so sorry you've been thrust into the news again and that the pain (which I believe never goes away) went deeper again with the story being renewed. Hopefully my blogging does not add to your pain. If it does, I need to know and I'll stop. It is our belief that the more people hear and read about these 9-1-1/0-0-0 tragedies, the sooner changes will come about. God bless you. I pray you find peace.

Triple-0 review urged by coroner as Iredale inquest ends

7/05/2009 12:50:00 PM

The preoccupation of ambulance call takers with getting addresses and the regimented system under which they work was "astounding", a coroner has found today, after recommending a full review of triple-0 services in the wake of the death of schoolboy David Iredale.

At an inquest into the Sydney Grammar student's death, Deputy State Coroner Carl Milovanovich made a number of recommendations, including that the ambulance service, police, fire and Telstra call operators who answer triple-0 phone calls review the structure of their operations.

This inquest has identified that in all the calls David Iredale made to triple zero ... there was a lack of empathy and call takers lacked the skills ... to record vital information that was crucial," Mr Milovanovich said.

David, 17, died after becoming lost during a three-day hike in the Blue Mountains in December 2006.

He had believed the walk would count towards his silver Duke of Edinburgh award.

The coroner said David had died of severe hydration as a result of a "critical miscalculation" of the amount he and his two schoolfriends would need for a hike in the Blue Mountains.

David's body was found off the Mount Solitary track, close to the Kedumba River and the water he so desperately needed.

"David's death highlights just how dangerous ... the Australian bush can be," Mr Milovanovich said.

He also thanked David's parents for their role in assisting the inquest, telling them that the death of their son had pulled at his heart strings.

"To die of dehydration in bushland so close to water and only kilometres as the crow flies from civilisation ... only magnifies the extent of the tragedy," Mr Milovanovich said.

The coroner said among the issues to be considered should be whether there is a single state-wide call centre for all triple-0 calls, improved protocols for callers from remote locations to ensure there is no duplication in questions asked.

Mr Milovanovich said he was astonished that the Ambulance Service of NSW had not conducted a review or analysis of its performance following the teenager's death.