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Dublin: 16°C Wednesday 18 May 2022

HSE clarifies ambulance response time after death of boy (7)

Bishop William Crean has also called for prayers for the family of James Casey Butler, who died after falling into a river in Co Cork on Saturday night.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE HSE HAS  moved to clarify the ambulance response times in the case where a young boy died after falling into a river.

James Casey Butler (7), died after accidentally falling into the Owenacurra river in Midleton, Co Cork, on Saturday night while playing with friends.

He was initially taken to Cork University Hospital before being transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

Tragic loss

The HSE said it wishes to express its deepest sympathies to the Casey Butler family on their tragic loss. The HSE South is now liaising with the community in Midleton and will provide appropriate support and counselling to those affected by the incident if requested.

The National Ambulance Services said it wishes to clarify the response times to Midleton on Saturday. It said the HSE National Ambulance Service Control Centre was notified of the emergency call at 6.40pm.

Ambulance Control processed the 999 emergency call and the nearest available emergency ambulance (which was leaving CUH at the time) was allocated to the call. This ambulance and crew arrived at the scene in Midleton at 6.59pm. Total response time of 19 minutes.
As is standard practice with an incident of this nature, First Responder text alerts were automatically sent by Ambulance Control and a local First Responder (who was also an off duty HSE advanced paramedic) arrived at scene at 6.47pm. Total response time of 7 minutes.


The HSE said that in relation to the ambulance service in East Cork, it wishes to clarify that the ambulance service was not moved to Youghal last year.

Emergency ambulances in East Cork are strategically deployed – ambulances are no longer assigned to an ambulance station but are deployed where they are most likely to be required. County boundaries no longer apply, so the nearest emergency ambulance responds, regardless of its base/origin/county.

The HSE said:

The modernisation of ambulance services in East Cork has seen an enhancement to the service in the area. The previous system saw a situation where four nights a week, paramedics were responding to calls after 8pm from their own homes as they were working an ‘on call’ system. In 2012, this system successfully changed to an ‘on duty’ system where paramedics are rostered on duty 24/7 and the ‘on call’ system has been eliminated.

The HSE said it would like to reassure the public that patients who currently require transfer to and from CUH by air ambulance are taken to Cork Airport.

The Ambulance Service works with the medical professionals in CUH in order to maintain life sustaining care during the transfer. Patient care is at all times paramount and depending on the nature of the patient’s condition; the paramedics may also be accompanied by a medical team from the Emergency Department in CUH. An agreement between Highfield Rugby Club is also in place to land helicopters if necessary.

The provision of a helipad facility at CUH has been included in the Development Control Plan (DCP) for the hospital campus.

Also today, Bishop William Crean said that he is deeply saddened to learn of the death of young James Casey Butler.

My heart goes out to all concerned: to the parents of James, to his extended family, relatives, friends and to the community of Midleton parish.
On behalf of the people and priests of the Diocese of Cloyne, I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences and I ask for prayers for all those who are grieving

Read: 7-year-old boy dies after falling into river>

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