Page last updated at 20:02 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 21:02 UK

Celery eating paramedic suspended

A paramedic who ate celery while his colleague jokingly put a prawn on a dying man's chin as he was given shock treatment was suspended for six months.

Clive Greedy ate the vegetable in the kitchen of the heart attack patient, on the Isle of Wight in 2006.

His colleague John Jones put a prawn on the man's chin, to "see if it would become cooked", a Health Professions Council (HPC) hearing was told.

The HPC panel said Mr Greedy's behaviour amounted to misconduct.

The hearing ruled his fitness to practise was impaired but it stopped short of striking him off the register.

Mr Jones was dismissed following the incident, while Mr Greedy, after first being given only a formal verbal warning, was also dismissed.

As I looked down and noticed this prawn he said: 'Let's see if we can cook a prawn'
Darren Claydon, emergency care practitioner

He appealed and went to an employment tribunal, but both moves were unsuccessful, the HPC heard.

Darren Claydon, an emergency care practitioner, was first on the scene, followed by Mr Greedy and Mr Jones, an ambulance technician.

Mr Claydon told a hearing in London on Monday: "My attention was called to Clive Greedy, by him saying, 'Nice celery'.

"He was holding a piece of celery, with bite marks, and a piece missing from it.

"It appeared to me he had been eating the celery. I saw him chewing."

Mr Greedy, who was working for the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service at the time, was not present at the hearing and was not represented, but denied the allegations.

I said 'How can you behave like this, what if the wife comes in?'
Darren Claydon

Nicola Hill, for the HPC, said when the patient's wife was told that there was an investigation into whether Mr Greedy had been eating, she said: "I was disgusted to learn of Clive Greedy's conduct.

"I could not believe any individual would act in such a manner."

Mr Claydon said the incidents happened as the medical team were giving shocks in an attempt at resuscitation.

"John Jones took my attention away from the monitor by jesting with a prawn that he had taken from a sink, in a colander, and said 'Does anybody want a prawn?' and held it out and gestured with it."

Mr Claydon turned back to the monitor, then became aware that a prawn was on the chin of the patient.

He said: "As I looked down and noticed this prawn he said: 'Let's see if we can cook a prawn'.

"I said: 'What are you playing at?"'

Later as their efforts to revive the patient continued, he became aware of Mr Greedy and the celery, he said.

Asked how he had felt about the incident, he said: "Disbelief, and feeling very uncomfortable about the situation. I said 'How can you behave like this, what if the wife comes in?'."

Unblemished career

Mr Claydon said he later reported the incident.

He did not think the team could have done any more for the patient clinically than they did, but he had felt that the actions he reported were morally and ethically wrong.

Dr Alexander Yule, the panel chairman, said: "The panel finds Mr Claydon to be a credible witness.

"We find proved that Mr Greedy took and ate a stick of celery while the patient was being resuscitated.

"It is clearly wrong and insensitive to behave in this way in a patient's home while on duty."

The panel said it was an isolated incident in an otherwise unblemished career for Mr Greedy, so a six-month suspension from working as a paramedic was appropriate.

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