Paramedic’s dashcam derby

A paramedic who was filmed by her own dashcam hitting kerbs and a central reservation after taking a cocktail of drugs has been found fit to practice.

Victoria Dodd admitted she was lucky she did not kill someone when she raced through the streets of Manchester while under the influence diazepam, codeine and tramadol.

Dodd, from Stockport, drove in the wrong direction to a second call, stopping for 10 seconds by the roadside, before accelerating away and swerving around parked cars.

Dash cam footage shows Dodd driving erratically through the streets of Manchester to a second emergency incident, hitting kerbs and a central reservation.

She also failed to turn on her headlights, warning lights and sirens until minutes into the journey, the Health and Care Professions Council

Footage shows the dazed paramedic jumping red lights without checking for cars then stopping at red lights when she could have gone through with her sirens on.

After making a sharp u-turn, she eventually stops after approximately eight minutes to report a flat tyre – the time by which she should have reached the incident.

Dodd, who was based at Duckinfield ambulance station in Cheshire at the time of the incident on 7 October 2015, can keep her job after the HCPC panel ruled her fitness to practice was not impaired.

All the allegations against her were found proved, and her behaviour was found to amount to misconduct.

HCPC panel chair Helen Carter said: ‘Members of the public rely on paramedics to fulfil their roles and respond to emergencies on duty.

‘Her actions were a breach of HCPC standards and ethics, and the matters found proved were so serious to amount to misconduct.

‘Fortunately no harm was caused by Ms Dodd’s behaviour.

‘However, this was a wholly isolated error of judgement and not a selfish act.

‘She firmly believed that taking the drugs would allow her to carry on her duties that night, and has clearly shown a great deal of remorse and insight into her behaviour.’

Giving evidence Dodd told the hearing: ‘The first time I saw the camera footage of my driving I was very upset.

‘It wasn’t my usual driving standard and there was a clear change in my driving.

‘I have got very little recollection of the drive to the second incident.

‘I remember speaking to my colleague earlier when she asked me why I hadn’t moved from the standby point.

‘I also remember the second job but don’t remember much up until I got the flat tyre and realised I was in completely the wrong place.

‘I shouldn’t have gone to work.

‘I know the consequences of my actions but never had any problems with the medication before.

‘I could have injured or killed someone with my driving and there could have been a problem with a patient that I was going to.

‘It has affected me – I have had a lot of sleepless nights.

‘My actions could bring the role of paramedics into disrepute.’

Dodd’s voice cracked as she added: ‘I had never had any reactions to my driving before.

‘My condition is now managed with minimal pain relief.

‘I have changed my diet and am taking food out with me on long shifts.

‘I am not going to take tramadol or diazepam ever again and if I have to take cocodamol I would not go into work.’

Dodd admitted she failed to respond to emergency incident A and took a route which delayed her response to emergency incident B on 7 October while working as a paramedic from Duckinfield ambulance station in Cheshire.

She also admitted working an operational shift whilst under the influence of codeine, tramadol and diazepam between 7 and 8 October.

Todd will be allowed to remain in the profession.
ends

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