PARAMEDIC Carl Brzakalik stole from an elderly woman he was sent to help.
The 52-year-old attended a 999 call at Muriel Quintin’s home after she hurt herself in a fall. The 89-year-old needed hospital treatment but while Brzakalik was in her house he stole a wallet, with £100 inside, that belonged to her late husband.
Mrs Quintin was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham but she died 11 days later.
Muriel’s niece, Karen Mazlum, said: ‘These events have been terribly upsetting for the whole family while we were trying to cope with such a distressing situation already.
‘We would have never expected someone to steal from a woman in the final days of her life.
‘This theft could not have come at a worse time for Muriel, plus family and friends who loved her and cherish the memories of our lives together.
‘Muriel’s family wish to thank the police for securing the conviction and for handling the case sensitively.’
The police were called in after staff at the hospital found the wallet where the paramedic had dumped it later that day, on July 24.
When it was handed back to Mrs Quintin, who lived in Nore Farm Avenue, Emsworth, she reported the missing money.
Brzakalik, who did provide the pensioner with some treatment before he stole from her, was arrested on August 2.
Brzakalik, of Kings Road, Hayling Island, pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.
District Judge Anne Arnold handed him a 14-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
He was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, pay £100 in compensation to the victim’s family and pay £85 in court costs.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Lee Parker, of Portsmouth CID, said: ‘This was a disgraceful betrayal of trust by someone in whom Mrs Quintin should have had complete confidence.
‘Mr Brzakalik was at her home to provide a professional service during a potentially life-threatening situation.
‘Instead, this man abused his responsible position to steal from a vulnerable patient in his care.
‘Police treat allegations of this nature with the utmost seriousness and will work with the emergency services to uncover crimes committed at the expense of patients.
‘Hampshire Constabulary would like to thank the South Central Ambulance Service and staff at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham for their considerable co-operation and assistance in bringing this case to court swiftly.’
Paramedic faces being struck off
THE South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which employed Carl Brzakalik, has insisted the incident was a one off.
Trust spokeswoman Michelle Ullett said: ‘South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust worked closely with Hampshire Constabulary to ensure a swift resolution to the court case.
‘This is an isolated incident and occurrences like this are very rare.
‘When incidents like this do occur they are dealt with effectively and handled with sensitivity and professionalism.
‘We take any breaches of trust very seriously and have robust internal procedures to handle such cases, these processes are continuing and we would like to reassure people that the staff member is no longer working for the trust.’
‘We would like to take the opportunity to send our sincere condolences to the family of the victim for their loss.’
She said the trust had carried out a range of checks on Brzakalik before employing him.
Today he faces a hearing before the Health Professions Council’s Conduct and Competence Committee in London where there will be an application to suspend him from working as a paramedic in the UK pending a further investigation.
If the council decides there is a case for him to answer they will hold a full hearing and Brzakalik faces being struck off.