Friday, October 28, 2016
Why an Australian ambulance officer described Dreamworld victims as having suffered ‘injuries incompatible with life’
AMID the unfolding tragedy of four deaths on a ride at Dreamworld on Tuesday, an ambulance officer’s seemingly heartless description of the victims’ injuries had social media in uproar.
It caused a social media maelstrom, with many attacking the Gold Coast's acting supervising officer — and the media for reporting it — for a seemingly cold description so soon after four deaths.
But the clearly shaken, senior officer, facing a live national television cross fresh from leaving the grisly scene, was using a clinical term commonly used by medical professionals, police and other emergency services.
Unknown to many was that the term gave a sad insight into the extent of the injuries the victims suffered.
When injuries are deemed by paramedics to be so severe that they are “incompatible with life”, CPR is deemed a futile exercise.
The Queensland Ambulance Service official clinical practice guidelines for resuscitation outline a number of instances in which CPR should not be attempted.
They include where the patient has sustained injuries that are “totally incompatible with life”.
Many social media users rushed to defend Mr Fuller’s use of the term on live television.
A 32-year-old woman and her 35-year-old brother were killed in Tuesday afternoon’s tragedy, which happened on the Thunder River Rapids Ride. The man’s 38-year-old male partner also died. All three were from Canberra. The woman’s 12-year-old daughter was thrown clear of the ride and watched in horror as her mother and uncles perished. Another unrelated woman, 42, from Sydney was also killed. Her 10-year-old son was also thrown free from the raft and watched his mother die.