Paramedic manoeuvre ‘could have been life-threatening’

Andrew Long says there is ‘no substance’ to claim that he put choke hold on two women

Andrew Long at Ennis Court: he has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm.

Andrew Long at Ennis Court: he has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm.


Gordon Deegan

The head of the country’s Civil Defence College has told a court the manoeuvre carried out by HSE paramedic Andrew Long on two women at a first aid course “could have been life-threatening”.

Principal at the Civil Defence College in Roscrea, Roisín Maguire told Ennis Circuit Court on Wednesday the manoeuvre previously described in court “could be life threatening because basically, you would be restricting blood flow to the brain”.

The witness for the prosecution said that this “would result in a restriction of oxygen to the brain and it would be a dangerous manoeuvre in my opinion”.

Ms Maguire said: “The manoeuvre is not included in any of the manuals or any of the first aid literature in all of my training. There is nothing that would demonstrate that kind of manoeuvre that I would see in training.”

In the case, fourth year nurse student Mary Nihill has recalled how Mr Long knocked her out and rendered her unconscious when he placed his arm around her neck outside the classroom of a Civil Defence First Aid course at the Vocational Education Centre in Scarriff in March 2013.

Mother of three and seven months pregnant in March 2013, Elise McMahon has told the jury her airwaves were cut off and she could not speak when Mr Long performed the manoeuvre on her the same night.

In the case, Mr Long (35) of Carraig Dubh, Tobertaosceain, Ennis has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Ms Nihill and Ms McMahon in March 2013.

In a Garda interview read out in court, the allegations concerning Ms Nihill and Ms McMahon were put to Mr Long and in reply he said: “There is no substance to these allegations.”

When asked if the women were telling lies, Mr Long stated: “I deny these allegations.”

When asked by Det Garda Bernard Casey if he put a choke hold on Ms Nihill and Ms McMahon, Mr Long replied: “I deny such allegations.”

Det Casey told the court Mr Long has no previous convictions.

Course director in paramedic studies at the University of Limerick Mark Dixon was asked by counsel for the State, Philip Rahn BL to comment on the manoeuvre described by Ms Nihill and Ms McMahon.

Mr Dixon replied that the first rule of medical education is to do no harm. “The absolute golden rule is that you never do harm and certainly what I have heard described, the occlusion of an airway with the potential starvation of oxygen would never be condoned in any form of educational process.”

“The brain is a very sensitive organ. The brain needs oxygen and sugar to live. If you take one of those elements away, it becomes potentially life threatening.”

“Any manoeuvre that closes that airway prevents oxygen getting to the brain and that is life-threatening.”

The prosecution case completed yesterday and the case continues on Friday.