Paramedic Struck Off After Disciplinary Panel Revealed She Rolled Eyes and Tutted at Patient Suffering Chest Pain

Thursday 20th September 2018

Rolling her eyes and tutting at a patient, leaving a woman bleeding and in labour to get to the hospital herself, saying to a patient they would have to have no legs and arms to be in so much pain. These are just some of the allegations that have been heard at a disciplinary panel that led to a Manchester Paramedic to be struck off the medical register.

Helen Middleham’s actions were described at the fitness-to-practice hearing as unprofessional and her comments and behaviour were seen to be interpreted as rude and patronising by the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service.

As well as this, she was claimed to have fabricated documents, been dishonest in her duties, breached the trust of patients, the trust and North West Ambulance Service and attempted to cover up her actions.

Middleham qualified as a paramedic in 2012, working for the NWAS in April the following year. By 2016 however, several complaints were made against her conduct and concerns were raised.

The tribunal heard a number of testimonies from patients who alleged a failure of duty of care to them, including “Patient A” who was seen by Miss Middleham in June 2016. Patient A reported she was suffering chest pains. Whilst the patient was reporting her symptoms, Miss Middleham rolled her eyes and was standing with her arms folded, even tutting when Patient A was describing the amount of pain she felt. She would go as far to say that the only way she would have felt the pain she was describing was if she was unable to walk to the ambulance and had no arms and legs.

A colleague, who witnessed the conversation, claimed in his evidence that such was his embarrassment he wanted the earth to swallow him whole.

Miss Middleham accepted she rolled her eyes and folded her arms but denied tutting and making the above comments. The HCPTS would find she did indeed make the “dismissive” comments and tutting, describing her conduct as inappropriate and unacceptable for a paramedic. They also found that Miss Middleham had falsified and recorded incorrectly the level of pain described on the Patient Report Form. She admitted recording an incorrect level but denied falsifying it.

Several months later, a complaint was made by a woman who was 37 weeks patient and was described as “high risk” by the ambulance monitor. The patient was having contractions, was in serious pain and had been bleeding heavily. Miss Middleham failed to review the patient’s maternity note, take her to the hospital nor contact the hospital’s maternity triage unit to let them know she would be heading there.

The patient claimed she was begging for help given the levels of pain she was in, however Miss Middleham did not provide any pain relief, something later accepted as a mistake, as well as not contacting the maternity unit or reading the maternity notes. She also was found to have fabricated documents.

The hearing ended on the 30th August 2018, striking Miss Middleham from the register. She stopped working for the NWAS in February last year.