Judiciary assures readiness to deal with medical emergencies

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Judiciary assures readiness to deal with medical emergencies

Following the sudden collapse and passing of an attorney in the Courts recently, the Judiciary is today assuring that measures are in place in cases of medical emergencies.

Attorney Neil Byam collapsed on February 10, 2023, while addressing Appellate judges in the Hall of Justice, and died despite attempts to resuscitate him.

In an update, the Judiciary said the responses of various stakeholders to the passing of Byam “seem to suggest that there are no Judiciary emergency medical response procedures”.

However, in a release this morning, the Judiciary stated the following:
The Judiciary said:

“We wish to advise that nothing could be further from the truth.

“Quite soon as Mr Byam had been taken to the hospital, the media contacted us asking whether we could confirm whether there was an incident involving an attorney who took ill while addressing the Court of Appeal.

“The Judiciary responded in the affirmative.

“Not having had confirmation of his passing, in consideration of his family members and not wishing to be precipitate by sharing information hastily, we merely confirmed that there had been a medical incident.”

The Judiciary said it did implement the following medical procedures as follows:

“The added layer of the Medical Response Team (MRT) in the Judiciary provides medical advice to be made available to all Judiciary locations as it is impractical to provide on-site medical specialist capacity to over 25 locations.

“All of our judges and staff have the MRT emergency number as this has been shared on diverse occasions. Security officers, who also have the MRT contacts, are strategically assigned throughout the buildings.

“The Hon. Justice Lucky called the MRT number on the morning of the incident and the MRT responded immediately.

“The Judiciary Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) calls for one of our several trained and certified first responders to go immediately to the person. In each of our 25 court locations all of senior security personnel (our men in black) and other court security officers, as well as several members of staff, are trained and certified to act on these occasions.

“On this occasion, a trained court security officer arrived within two minutes and turned the attorney on his side and began compression subsequently. As a doctor had been called by someone in the courtroom and was on video, he did not act independently as he would do otherwise, but followed the instructions of the doctor until the ambulance service which was called by our MRT arrived within 18 minutes.”

The Judiciary said their MRT doctors on call were not called immediately as procedures require as a doctor was guiding the first responder – the Judiciary said the first responder was about to begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when the ambulance Emergency Medical Team (EMT) arrived.

The Judiciary added that the MRT doctor was called when the EMT personnel were there and they advised that compressions should continue until the person arrived at a medical facility.

The Judiciary said their Employee Assistance Programme Coordinator, who is stationed at another building, arrived within 30 minutes to give support.

The Judiciary said:

“It is indeed unfortunate that in their shock and grief persons say things without having information and thus cast aspersions on the Judiciary’s Medical Response Team and on its first responders who have handled many incidents in our 25 court buildings which fortunately, due to their intervention, did not end in the death of the person who was impacted.

“The Judiciary realises that emergencies, medical or otherwise, by their very nature, do not call for a “cookie cutter” reaction but must be dealt with in keeping with well-developed SOPs.

“On this occasion, these processes were engaged.”

The Judiciary added that while at each court location there is a store of equipment and medications, none of them were appropriate to the situation involving Byam, and first responders are not permitted to take decisions regarding medication or more complex medical procedures.

The Judiciary said the incident was tragic.

“The passing of our esteemed colleague has left us all shaken, distraught and distressed. To point fingers or make uninformed statements at this point certainly does not offer comfort or support to Mr Byam’s family in their moment of grief.”

The Judiciary added that its Emergency Team comprising the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Unit, security unit and MRT will review processes and procedures and make any appropriate adjustments.