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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 25 September, 2018
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HSE paramedic 'knocked out' student nurse and 'choked' pregnant woman, court hears

The court heard of the incidents which allegedly occurred during a first aid class.

Image: Leon Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

A MOTHER OF one told a court today how a HSE paramedic knocked her out when he allegedly placed his arm around her neck.

At Ennis Circuit Court, 4th-year student nurse, Mary Nihill got visibly upset in the witness box as she said how Andrew Long (35) rendered her unconscious during an evening first aid class at the Vocational Education Centre in Scarriff in March 2013.

Nihill told the court that after the incident “I was in shock. I thought I was in safe hands with a professional paramedic. He tried to knock me out – he did knock me out.”

In the case, Long (35) of Carraig Dubh, Tobertaosceain, Ennis has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to assault causing harm to Mary Nihill and Elise McMahon – who was seven months pregnant at the time – in March 2013.

In the case, mature student, Nihill said she was taking an evening occupational first aid course that was being given by Long.

She said that after the class, Long called her out to a corridor where he asked her general questions about what she had learned in the course and that he wanted to perform a manoeuvre on her.

She said: “I got very nervous when he said that he didn’t practice the manoeuvre in his profession. He called it ‘Prodrum’ and ‘we don’t practice this’. I thought ‘why would he do that to me?’.”

Nihill said she was sitting down and that from behind Long placed his left arm around her neck and applied force with his another arm.

She said: “I was choking and slipping on the chair and telling him to stop. I wanted to go out, but I couldn’t escape.

At no time did I consent to him putting his hands around my neck.

Nihill said that Long then sat in front of her and placed his arms on her knees.

Nihill said that Long went behind her again and performed the same manoeuvre “after me telling him, ‘no, leave me alone’”.

The Tulla woman lost consciousness due to the pressure on her airways during the second manoeuvre.

She said: “I don’t know how long I was out for, but when I came to, he was sitting in front of me with his two hands on my knees.”

Nihill said that she was drooling from the mouth.

Nihill said that after regaining consciousness “I felt faint. I didn’t know what do and I ran out the door. My legs were like jelly.”

On behalf of Long, defence counsel, Bernard Madden SC said that Long says that what Nihill has described did not happen. He said: “He didn’t put his arm around your neck in the way you have said.”

Elise McMahon also attended the course the same night and was seven months pregnant at the time.

The mother of three also stated that Long called her out to the corridor that night after the class was over.

McMahon said that Long told her that he wanted to carry out the Prodrum manoeuvre.

She said: “I was very reluctant as I was seven months pregnant at the time and I was afraid that it might harm me or my baby but very reluctantly, I said ‘yes’ even though I felt uncomfortable doing it.”

She added: “He told me I was safe as he was a paramedic.”

McMahon said that Long put his arm wrapped around her neck from behind.

She said: “My airwaves were cut off. I was conscious, but literally I couldn’t talk. I had no voice. It was the weirdest feeling. It scared me. The only way to stop was to push my body forward.”

Counsel for Long, Madden said that what Long says happened was that he was instructing her in relation to a breathing technique and that she had breathe ten times in a particular way.

Madden said that Long said that the manoeuvre around the Prodrum didn’t happen.

Counsel for the State, Philip Rahn BL told the jury that evidence will be heard that the manoeuvre carried out by Mr Long has nothing to do with first aid.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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Gordon Deegan

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