A PARAMEDIC at the centre of a fitness to practise investigation has been branded a disgrace by the family of a patient he failed.
Grieving husband Stuart Lewis criticised Peter Read who refused to treat his wife after she had fallen in the street.
Mr Lewis said the actions of Read were “beyond belief” when he declined to help his injured wife Denise who was suffering from cancer. She died just a few months later.
The couple had been enjoying a walk with their daughter Carolyne in September 2009 when Mrs Lewis, who had been battling cancer on and off for 15 years, fell on busy Front Street in Tynemouth.
Mr Lewis dialled 999 for an ambulance while passers-by and local business people helped his wife and daughter.
A hearing of the Health Professions Council has heard how Read admitted a series of failings in his job including failing to locate Mrs Lewis and failing to respond to an emergency.
Mr Lewis added: “I saw the ambulance coming along the road and I flagged it down. The trainee paramedic who was with this man acknowledged me.”
After two or three minutes the crew had failed to leave their vehicle so Mr Lewis went over to ask why.
He said: “At first I thought they were just getting equipment ready but when they took so long I went over.
“I knocked on the window and said: ‘Are you here for the lady who fell?’ I didn’t say she was my wife.
“He said that he was but since he couldn’t find her he had called it back into control and was just about to leave. He had his feet up on the dashboard and was reading a paper.
“I said ‘You won’t find her with your feet like that’. He then accused me of being aggressive. I thought it was shameful that there was a woman on a major street outside a shop who was obviously in distress and he said he couldn’t find her.”
During investigations into Read’s handling of other cases it was discovered just months earlier he had failed to help a drunk man who had taken an overdose. The man later died.
Mr Lewis, who lives in Willington, North Tyneside, claims the incident left his 51-year-old wife mistrustful of the ambulance service.
The retired plumber said: “She was in hospital for four days with a fractured skull. She died just months later and you could still see the injury.”
Read admitted 10 charges of misconduct but denies a charge of being unfit to practise.
The HPC is due to decide in April whether he will be able to continue practising.
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said they will await the HPC findings before taking any action.