Suspended paramedics backed by 150 supporters

Supporters outside the Jersey’s Ambulance Headquarters
The court heard how the two paramedics withdrew from Frazer Irvine's property after feeling threatened [BBC]

More than 150 people have gathered outside Jersey’s Ambulance Headquarters in support of two suspended members of staff.

Paramedic John Sutherland and Technician Tom Le Sauteur attended the home of Frazer Irvine, 39, after he called 999 and had a cardiac arrest due to a drug overdose.

Jersey's Royal Court heard evidence the pair had felt threatened by Mr Irvine’s behaviour and withdrew to call for police back up. Mr Irvine later died.

The prosecution said further delays to brief officers and to put on protective clothing meant that the paramedics "failed to take reasonable care" for Mr Irvine’s health and safety.

Demonstrators from across hospital departments, along with lifeboat crew, and other emergency workers, cheered and applauded as ambulances left the station earlier.

One of them, Kirsty Ross, a senior doctor in Jersey’s accident end emergency department, said a dangerous precedent had been set.

She added the show of solidarity had been spontaneous following message of support on social media.

"We are supposed to be supporting zero tolerance, but we seem to be supporting zero tolerance with caveats, and paramedics have the right to keep themselves safe as much as their patients," she said.

"We want recognition that emergency workers are allowed to make these decisions free of the fear that they are going to end up in court."

Mr Sutherland and Mr Le Sauteur remain suspended from duty. Their supporters hope they can appeal against their conviction.

After the verdict, the ambulance service apologised to Mr Irvine's family and said the public could expect the "highest standards" of care.

The service added it was committed to supporting its "dedicated" staff.

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