A paramedic who was injured trying to stop a patient falling off the back of an ambulance at Heathrow airport has been sacked after being unable to return to work.
David Morris, 46, who is married with a six-month-old son, has been forced onto benefits after losing his appeal against dismissal by London Ambulance Service after being judged incapable to work.
He and a colleague had been called to Heathrow in June 2014 to take a woman who had fallen ill on a plane to hospital. When she was being lifted into the ambulance, the vehicle’s tail-lift broke and the trolley-bed began to roll backwards, injuring Mr Morris as he tried to stop it crashing to the ground.
“I leapt into action and tried to grab it as it dropped off, but a 4st trolley bed and 16st patient was too much for me,” Mr Morris told the Standard. “It came down on my shoulder.”
He was diagnosed with a compressed fracture of his collarbone and tore ligaments and tendons in his shoulder and arm. He later underwent surgery in a bid to ease the constant pain. He was unable to pick up his newborn son, Jago, for six weeks after his birth.
His contract was terminated last April and he heard last month that his appeal against dismissal had been rejected, despite a plea by his wife Sally to LAS chief executive Dr Fionna Moore.
Mrs Morris said: “He has been injured in the line of duty and they do not care. They dismissed him through ill health. He is not ill. He is injured.”
She added: “This was Dave going beyond the call of duty. He has not even had an official word of thanks for saving this woman.”
The fault with the tail-lifts had been on LAS’s “risk register” since 2012. It has admitted liability but Mr Morris has yet to receive compensation.
He said: “I could understand if I broke my leg skiing and I had to have a year off for something that happened outside work. But I was injured at work because of LAS negligence.
“The whole thing has been an awful experience. Their attitude is not appropriate, especially as they are a healthcare provider. I wouldn’t work for the LAS again if they doubled my wages, I feel so strongly about the way I was treated.”
He said his sacking by LAS prevented him getting a job with other ambulance services. A petition has been set up here: https://www.change.org/p/the-london-ambulance-service-make-the-london-ambulance-service-accountable-for-their-failures
Mr Morris previously worked as a chef at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground but retrained as a paramedic. He attempted to return to a desk job at LAS but said that made his shoulder worse.
Mrs Morris’s maternity pay runs out in April and she fears having to return to work before her son’s first birthday as she works as cabin crew attendant with British Airways on long-haul routes and can be away for days at a time.
LAS human resources director Paul Beal said: “We are very sorry that David is no longer able to work on a frontline ambulance. We have tried to find an alternative role for him but he is not able to carry out non-operational duties.
“We supported David at work following his injury until he left the service last year and the NHS Litigation Authority is currently looking at his claim for compensation.”