Belfast Telegraph

Medics attacked while treating girl

Ambulance staff were assaulted while trying to save a dying toddler hit by a car, an inquest has heard.

Roma McAleese, three, was knocked down near her home at Ashdale Park, Coleraine, last year and her inquest is being heard in the town.

When paramedic Heather Moore arrived with a colleague, she was punched in the back by somebody who claimed she had not arrived soon enough, she told the inquest.

"She was punching for all she was worth," she said.

The injured three-year-old was taken into the ambulance but died in hospital.

Coroner John Leckey said: "What happened to you and your colleague (Sharon Robinson) was totally unwarranted, quite disgraceful. It is unacceptable that the emergency services seem to be attacked almost routinely. Instead of expressing gratitude for your arrival this physical assault happened."

The driver of the Volkswagen Golf involved in the March 2009 accident, Nicola Smyth, was left traumatised, the inquest heard. She did not attend the hearing and was never charged with any wrongdoing.

She told police: "The wee girl just seemed to appear out of nowhere. I slammed on my brakes and got out of the car but the body seemed to be rolling about," her statement said.

Senior scientific officer Damien Coll said the accident had happened in as little as one-and-a-half seconds. There was nothing to suggest Ms Smyth was breaking the 30mph speed limit and a postal van may have obstructed her view, the expert added.

The coroner ruled that Roma died at the Causeway Hospital from head, neck and chest injuries sustained when she was knocked down while crossing the road by a car being driven within the speed limit.


From Belfast Telegraph