By Conor McNally
When most people see the inside of an ambulance you assume they are usually pretty preoccupied, but apparently some more opportunistic souls have other ideas. An iPad and a ladies jacket were stolen from Irish ambulances in the last calendar year, according to information released by the HSE under the Freedom of Information Act.
The exact circumstances surrounding the theft were not disclosed by the agency but this is not the first time the emergency services have been the victim of robbery. Although shocking that anybody would steal from an ambulance, an iPad and a jacket are relatively small compared to other instances of theft involving ambulances.
Equipment worth €800 was taken from an ambulance for critically ill children at the National Ploughing Championships in Laois in 2014. The thieves got away with devices used for monitoring blood oxygen levels after robbing the BUMBLEance, a private ambulance service set up to help sick children by Tom and Mary Heffernan (whose children both tragically died from Batten’s disease).
The theft of what’s inside the ambulance is not the only thing paramedics have to worry about, sometimes they have to worry about the vehicle itself. In November of this year an armed gang in Blanchardstown in Dublin threatened paramedics who had been called to an assault and stole their ambulance.
The paramedics had to barricade themselves into the house of the man they were treating and although the ambulance was recovered a few hours later, it was out of action at a time when it could have been helping others in need of medical attention.
“We are professional and respectful to patients, the community and colleagues at all times,” is one of the core values in the National Ambulance mission statement. This is what the public expect out of their emergency service, but it seems members of the emergency services don’t always enjoy the same treatment from some members of the public.