Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Save tirade for the drunk driver

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Clearing mangled bodies from road crashes entitles emergency service staff to respect from the public. Photo / Bradley Ambrose
Clearing mangled bodies from road crashes entitles emergency service staff to respect from the public. Photo / Bradley Ambrose

The father of a 15-year-old injured in a car accident in the early hours of last Sunday has lashed out at emergency services staff, accusing them of teenage accident fatigue.

Brian Davey says that ambulance staff who attended a car crash, in which his son was a passenger, initially thought his son was drunk and didn't diagnose his head injury until the boy was in the ambulance.

In an astonishing outburst, Davey says the ambulance staff treated the incident so lightly the attending police officer didn't think it worth contacting family members. Maybe, Davey went on, emergency services are suffering teenage accident fatigue and really don't care any more.

What he was quoted as saying next was even more remarkable.

"It makes me sick, the rank hypocrisy of the adult world, pointing their finger and standing on their little pulpits. But we've all done it ourselves when we were kids.

So I feel in no position at all to stand up and take these kids to task, especially living in a world where it's generally deemed to be cool to be tooling around in fast cars and drinking flash beer.

"It's pushed down our throats, far more than it was in my day, and we wonder why they crash off the road drunk."

Wow. That's father-of-the-year stuff, right there.

I'm hoping it was just the stress and worry that comes with a child being admitted to hospital that was behind the comments and that in the cool light of day, given that his boy is recovering well, he'll realise what an idiot he sounds.

Where was he at 3.30 last Sunday morning? He wasn't driving out to the accident, fearing the worst. No, that was the police and the ambulance staff. Was he the one being dicked around by his son's two mates, both of whom were over the limit? No, that would be the police, who described his son's mates as dorks. Apparently, both boys thought they were ever so clever by not remembering who was driving. The police have said they'll charge both unless the real driver confesses.

Davey is not the one who has to pick mangled remains out of crushed cars, trying to find some sort of identification, so we can know who was once a person. He's not the one who has to visit a family and deliver the worst possible news and deal with the raw, dreadful grief of a parent who's lost a child.

He doesn't have to put aside his fury and his frustration at being called out to yet another crash where a young, speeding drunk-driver has ruined the lives of innocent people.

Davey's son was taken from a car driven by one of his drunk mates, put in an ambulance and given appropriate treatment. He should be making a substantial donation to St John instead of slagging them off.

Because, by crikey, if emergency services were suffering from teenage accident fatigue I wouldn't blame them one bit. The fact they treat even the most odious little dickhead with compassion and respect is testament to their professionalism and patience.

- Herald on Sunday

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