Dreamworld accident: Why ambulance officer used the phrase 'injuries incompatible with living'
He's been pilloried on social media and hauled over the coals by language pedants, but Gavin Fuller was merely saying the version of English he knows best.
In the panic of the catastrophic ride malfunction that killed four at Dreamworld on Tuesday the ambulance officer's seemingly heartless description of the victims' injuries rubbed many up the wrong way.
Fuller, facing the media just two hours after no doubt one of the most traumatic scenes of his career, described the four victims as having suffered "injuries incompatible with living".
In the madness of media coverage that followed many attacked the Gold Coast's acting supervising officer - and the media reporting his words - for what they saw as a seemingly cold and ridiculous sounding description of four people dying.
* Killed Canberra couple were trailblazing heroes who stood up to bureacracy
* New Zealand woman Cindy Low separated from family to sit in ill-fated raft
* Kiwi man let group in front who died in tragic accident
* Four dead in theme park tragedy
* Dreamworld fatalities come after history of theme park accidents
* Kiwi theme park-goers to be refunded
* Union had raised operational issues with Dreamworld for over a year
* Ride had 'broken down' earlier in the day
* Thunder Rapids: Moderate thrill
But Fuller was merely using a clinical term commonly used by medical professionals, police and other emergency services in Australia.
It describes a type of injury that is deemed by paramedics to be so severe that CPR is deemed futile.
The Queensland Ambulance Service's official clinical practice guidelines for resuscitation outline a number of instances in which CPR should not be attempted.
If you were wondering about that somewhat heartless-sounding "injuries incompatible with life" term, it's a technical one. pic.twitter.com/ymSQJkYBHX— Philip Calder (@philipjcalder) October 25, 2016
They include where the patient has sustained injuries that are "totally incompatible with life".
According to the document, such injuries include decapitation, cranial and cerebral destruction, hemicorporectomy (where the body is amputated below the waist), incineration or foetal maceration (foetal death).
Many would point out that it remains a ridiculous term.
But in a society so scared of death it changes "undertaker" to "funeral director", "coffin" to "casket", "grave" to "burial plot", and even "death" to "passing away", it's hardly the biggest travesty.