A paramedic who stood around with his hands in his pockets and did nothing while a patient collapsed and died in front of him outside a hospital has avoided jail.
Tragic Carl Cope, 47, was ignored by ambulance worker Matt Geary, 36, as members of the public laughed and took pictures of him after he slumped to the ground outside an A&E.
Instead, Geary stood with other hospital staff and talked about FOOTBALL while Mr Cope lay dying in front of him.
Yesterday (Wed) at Wolverhampton Crown Court Geary avoided prison after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to discharge his duties.
The court heard the West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic had been called to near Mr Cope’s house in Bloxwich, Walsall, West Mids., after he collapsed on a grass verge on June 23.
He was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital at around 10.15am before he collapsed while walking back to the A&E after getting a drink from a nearby shop.
CCTV footage shows Geary watching from his ambulance for 30 seconds before he finally goes over to the patient.
Shockingly, the medic just stands over Mr Cope with his hands in his pockets for two minutes before telling security to deal with the situation and returning to his ambulance.
When security staff arrived five minutes later Mr Cope had died from a heart attack.
Geary, from Great Wyrley, West Mids., was handed an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 240 hours community service.
Sentencing, Judge Judge John Warner said: “Your behaviour was callous and uncaring, and totally at odds with your job.
“If there was any causal link between the death and your actions you would be facing a manslaughter charge and a definite custodial sentence.
“This is a truly lamentable case before the court.
“The events of that day start with Carl Cope complaining of chest pains. When at hospital he tried unsuccessfully to get pain killers and went outside.
“It’s disturbing that no staff came to help him, and the CCTV shows that the A & E department was not too busy.
“He squatted down outside in your view and you failed to go and help him Mr Geary, but when the receptionist came out you spoke about the football.
“When he came back with a drink and collapsed twice you did nothing as a paramedic or a human being.
“You discussed ‘ownership’ of the victim with an other member of staff as if he was chattel.
“You went over to him but still didn’t give him any aid, and then the security staff came out but it was all too late.”
The court heard expert evidence indicated Mr Cope’s chest pain been considered cardiac and had he been monitored then his chances of survival would have been significantly higher.
A post mortem revealed had died from a heart attack and coronary artery thrombosis.
Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said: “Mr Geary had treated Mr Cope with chest pains earlier and should have gone to help him, but did nothing.
“Other members of staff joked that they might ‘stick a syringe’ in Mr Cope to teach him a lesson.
“They discussed who had ownership of Mr Cope and eventually Mr Geary went to speak to him.
“He didn’t treat him in any way, and then went to get security because he said Mr Cope was ‘getting on his nerves’.
“The security staff were the first to render any first aid. This was all shown in the CCTV.
“The security staff did what the defendant should have done and raised the alarm.
“The A&E was having a very quiet day.
“But since Mr Cope‘s death, medical experts have said it is impossible to find a causal link between those incidents and the death.
“Mr Geary was suspended the next morning and resigned, and another nurse, a receptionist and two ambulance staff were dismissed following the events that day.”
Geary – who no longer works as a paramedic – initially claimed to police he thought Mr Cope had been drunk.
Brian Dean, defending, said: “Mr Geary has paid an extremely heavy price for what happened and made some bad decisions, but it was only over a matter of minutes.
“He showed himself to be a responsible person by going over to the victim but then let himself down significantly, but he is the only one who went over to help.”
After the case Detective Inspector Justin Spanner, from West Midlands Police, who led the two-year investigation, said: “We had seen the CCTV footage of Carl collapsing and listened to his 999 call.
“Carl had been treated very poorly and we were determined the circumstances surrounding his death were not simply swept under the carpet.
“We couldn’t move forward with a manslaughter prosecution so we began to investigate what other offences may have been committed.
“Three people − Geary, another ambulance worker and a nurse − who were no longer working in their jobs as a result of the initial investigation, were then charged with failing to discharge their duties in taking care of the health and safety of Carl Cope.
“Carl had a serious heart condition – that’s why he dialled 999.
“After Carl collapsed outside the hospital, Geary did nothing on that day to care for him and there is a chance that if he had actually done something, then Carl would still be alive today.
“Geary’s actions were purely his own, as indicated by the CCTV which shows him with his hands in his pockets while Carl dies in front of him.
“He is no way an example of other ambulance staff, the vast majority of whom do a wonderful job in challenging circumstances.
“The CCTV was handed to us by West Midlands Ambulance Service, who were also concerned about what they had seen.
“We hope this case reassures people that where we find evidence of wrongdoing and if proved, we will work tirelessly to secure a conviction.
“As ever, our condolences remain with Carl’s family who continue to grieve for their loss in these tragic circumstances.”
In a statement released through police, Mr Cope’s family said: “Nobody should ever have to go through what we have endured for the past two-and-a-half years.
“It’s hard to lose a loved one but to lose a loved one under such tragic circumstances has had a devastating effect on our family.
“We still can’t understand what happened to him that day and none of us can come to terms with the loss that someone – who was such a big part of our family – was taken from us so uneccesarily.”