Residents of the Orihuela Costa are in mourning once again following the death of a nine year old British boy after an accident on La Zenia beach on Tuesday evening. The child, a resident of the local area, was playing football when he fell to the ground having collided with a friend.
While members of the public attempted to resuscitate the boy calls were made to the 112 emergency services line. First on the scene was a Policia Local patrol after which officers arrived from the Guardia Civil who continued with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The arrival of the first ambulance took 25 minutes after it had picked up a doctor at Cabo Roig Medical centre, but it was only equipped with basic life support. The doctor and medical team took charge of the resuscitation but the child seemed not to respond. A second ambulance, also with only Basic Life Support, arrived shortly afterwards.
As the resuscitation attempts continued the health workers confirmed that the child was fibrillating but it was not until the 40 minute mark that a SAMU ambulance arrived carrying the appropriate medical equipment.
Medical staff continued with attempts to resuscitate the child for almost an hour and they are said to have found a very weak pulse at which point they decided to move him to the Hospital Quirón de Torrevieja where a medicalized helicopter transported him, still in critical condition but still alive, to the General Hospital of Alicante.
Unfortunately, having been in a coma induced by the lack of oxygen to the brain, their efforts proved to be in vain as the child died on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 5pm.
So as the inquests now get underway the question being asked is could the life of the child have been saved had adequate medical attention been available at the time?
Witnesses say that the SAMU ambulance, which was carrying all the necessary medical equipment to treat the child, and which is normally based in Cabo Roig, was deployed to Orihuela city at the time of the accident, where it was dealing with a routine medical situation. When it received the call it had to travel over 40 kms back to the Orihuela Costa.
Although the medical staff that attended the accident carried out all available procedures, sources explained that all three of the SAMU ambulances that would normally provide emergency assistance between Guardamar and Pilar de la Horadada, were all away from their bases providing non-priority services.
It is understood that friends of the deceased and his family, who took flowers to the scene of the accident as a tribute, have complained to the Orihuela Council about the lack of defibrillators in the Orihuela Costa, with its large resident population.
In an unusual step the council issued a press release at 9pm on Wednesday evening offering their condolences to the family of the young boy.
After outlining the events they concluded by saying “We deeply regret the loss of the child and we convey our condolences to his family, while we request all the rigor and prudence in the face of the information published about this painful event.”
An autopsy is due to be carried out on the body of the young boy today (Thursday) prior to his funeral which will take place at the Tanatorio in San Pedro.