999 warning after man calls out paramedic to exhausted dog

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A paramedic rushed to save the life of a seven-year-old male in a life threatening emergency yesterday, only to discover that the ‘patient’ was a dog.

The 999 call was made to the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust from the ‘friend’ of a male in Levenshulme, Manchester, suffering from heat exhaustion.

Based on the answers given by the caller to the questions from the ambulance service, the incident was given the highest priority and NWAS dispatched a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle to help.

Speaking of the incident, the paramedic said he rushed through busy traffic to be greeted by a man and his dog and was told ‘he wasn’t doing well’.

The paramedic quickly realised ‘he’ was a dog, not a little boy.

The man told the paramedic that he’d called 999 because he didn’t know what else to do and that he knew the ambulance service would arrive quickly.

“It was a complete waste of time,” said the paramedic who passed on the number for the RSPCA and advised the man to call them for help.

Head of Service for Greater Manchester, Steve Hynes said: “The caller deceived the emergency services by claiming he was a friend of a male rather than the owner of a dog and this is not acceptable. We understand that dogs are like part of the family but this incident is a blatant misuse of the 999 number.

“A person with a serious or life-threatening condition could have been waiting longer than necessary for our help because of this call. We only have a limited number of ambulances and our calls were up because of the heat.

“When ambulance staff travel on blue lights and sirens they risk their lives for the benefit other people.

“Please remember that ambulances are for emergencies involving people and that there are other care options available such as visiting a GP or a walk-in centre, calling NHS 111 or, in this case, calling on the emergency response service provided by most vets.”

The incident exemplifies the need for #MakeTheRightCall - NWAS’ public education initiative which aims to show people when it’s appropriate to call 999 and what other options are available.

Of the 1,200 emergency calls received for the Greater Manchester area yesterday by NWAS, 54% did not require treatment at an emergency department.