Archive | January, 2010

Two incidents bring review of county’s EMS procedures

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

HILTON HEAD ISLAND – Beaufort County EMS is reviewing paramedics’ handling of two recent incidents after patients raised questions about the quality of the care they received after emergencies.

The reviews come after relatives of the patients complained to county officials about treatment by emergency responders that they observed.

One incident occurred in October, the other in December.

In the latter incident, a registered nurse who had observed paramedics treating her sister earlier that month wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to county officials that she is “left to conclude that training is deficient in Beaufort County EMS. … training would seem to be required to protect the health and safety of the citizens of and visitors to Beaufort County.”

In the other incident, a man whose car had flipped and crashed into a tree in October sent a similar email to the county about the treatment his wife received after the accident.

“I still can’t believe that after all the incidents that occurred with emergency services prior to my accident that they would still be so unresponsive,” Frank Ducey, a retiree who spent six years as a U.S. Navy Hospital corpsman, wrote to county officials. “Hopefully what I have written to you will make you realize that you do have a real problem with some of your paramedics.”

Beaufort County Attorney Ladson Howell said Friday the county would not discuss the complaints, citing patient privacy concerns.

“It doesn’t serve the public or the county well for us to respond,” Howell said.

Howell said Beaufort County EMS Director Donna Ownby is “conducting investigations of both incidents” and would “talk to the patients themselves and handle it on a personnel level.”

The complaints come after a year that saw at least three lawsuits filed against county EMS. Last month, county officials announced plans to hire consultants to examine the quality of the county’s EMS system.


On Dec. 18, a Beaufort woman, Rachel Neese, developed a severe allergic reaction that caused her throat to swell, according to a letter written by her sister, nurse Ruth Neese.

The patient was “rapidly losing her airway,” Ruth Neese wrote.

Three registered nurses were present — the Neese sisters and a third family member, the letter states. All three have “extensive emergency department experience,” she wrote. Rachel Neese also has experience as a paramedic, Ruth Neese said last week.

One of the relatives gave the patient an EpiPen — a treatment that generally provides up to 20-minutes of relief before symptoms return — while another dialed 911, according to Neese’s letter.

“We were very clear in reporting the problem, the time of onset and time of EpiPen administration,” she wrote.

Emergency responders from Beaufort’s Fire Department arrived about six minutes after the 911 call, she wrote. A firefighter gave the patient oxygen and took her vital signs, she wrote.

An ambulance from Beaufort County EMS rolled up several minutes later, her letter said.

What happened next appears to be inconsistent with Beaufort County EMS protocols.

“The paramedic brought no equipment into the room that could have been used to treat my sister — no IV equipment, no nebulizer, no medication,” Neese wrote.

Beaufort County EMS Standing Orders tells paramedics to “ensure you have the equipment you need with” you on all calls.

“There was no rush to get my sister into the ambulance, either, which was very frustrating,” Neese wrote. “Time is critical after EpiPen use.”

Neese said in the letter that her sister later told her that “the paramedic considered not transporting her” and that the ambulance “did not travel lights-and-sirens to Beaufort Memorial.”

Additionally, “she received no treatment (en) route other than an IV start,” Neese wrote. “As a result, my sister’s symptoms of respiratory distress had returned by the time she arrived in the emergency department.”

Neese recommended in the letter that “protocols related to allergic reactions, anaphylaxis and airway management be reviewed with all personnel” and that treatment of patients who have had an EpiPen also be reviewed.

“… I am very puzzled as to why no protocol seems to have been followed,” Neese wrote in her letter, sent to County Administrator Gary Kubic, Ownby and EMS training officer Julie Williams.

Neese said last week she received no response.

Rachel Neese recovered after being treated at Beaufort Memorial, Ruth Neese said.


The other incident, on Oct. 8, involved a Sun City Hilton Head couple who had been in a roll-over accident on S.C. 170.

Frank Ducey — traveling with his wife, Joan — swerved his 2007 Saturn Sky convertible off the road to avoid an oncoming car that had crossed into his lane, he said. The Duceys’ car flipped and landed on its roof; the passenger door and windshield were badly damaged.

The car was declared totaled the day after the accident, the Duceys said, but to the paramedics who responded, the damage seemed less severe. Their case report notes”minimal damage to the vehicle.”

The couple hung upside down in their seat belts in the moments immediately after the wreck. Frank Ducey said he managed to crawl out of the car but it took the help of a paramedic to extract his wife, he said.

There were mixed signals from the Duceys about whether they wanted to be treated by paramedics, whether Joan Ducey wanted be taken to a hospital and, if so, which one.

Both husband and wife initially refused treatment. Frank Ducey told paramedics his back hurt a bit, and both said they were cut by broken glass but had no wounds requiring stitches.

Then Frank Ducey heard his wife telling a Bluffton Township Fire District responder that she’d hit her head and it was hurting. That concerned Frank Ducey, so he reconsidered and told the county paramedics that he now thought his wife needed to go to the hospital, he said.

In his e-mail to EMS director Ownby and county administrator Kubic, Frank Ducey said the Beaufort County EMT he spoke to was reluctant to bring his wife to the hospital until Ducey insisted.

Initially, the EMT tried to talk him out of the idea, Ducey said.

The EMT said, “We checked her out and she seems fine to us,” Ducey wrote in his e mail to county officials

The ambulance left with Joan Ducey aboard. It headed toward Hardeeville’s Coastal Carolina Medical Center. The paramedics called the emergency room there to say they were on their way, according to the EMS case report.

But officials at Coastal diverted the ambulance to Savannah’s Memorial University Medical Center, a trauma center, because of the way the Duceys’ accident occurred, the report said.

The case report filed by the paramedics recounts more confusing interaction between them and Joan Ducey.

She questioned the need to go to Savannah and asked to be taken to Coastal Carolina instead; the paramedics told her they could not, according to the report.

After a paramedic explained “all of her options,” Joan Ducey decided she wanted to continue to Savannah, according to the report.

But after the ambulance resumed its trip there, Joan Ducey said the paramedics tried to talk her out of going.

“It was like they were being put out,” she said. “They made me feel like I was wasting their time.”

She sat on a bench — with no seat belt — in the ambulance during the trip, she said. When the ambulance pulled up to the hospital, one of the paramedic said, “We have to take you in on a stretcher, so could you please get in the stretcher,” according to Frank Ducey’s email to county officials.

County officials declined to discuss the procedures paramedics must follow when transporting — whether patients should sit on a bench or be strapped onto a stretcher.

In Savannah, hospital workers later put a brace on Joan Ducey’s neck, a device she wasn’t offered during the ambulance trip. In the emergency room, the paramedics told her to sit down while they went to talk to people at the front desk, she said. Soon afterward they left the hospital, but didn’t touch base with her on the way out, she said.

About an hour later, a hospital worker asked her why she wasn’t signed in, she said.

County officials declined to explain the procedure paramedics should use when handing off a patient to a hospital.

Joan Ducey had no serious injuries from the accident, hospital tests showed.

“Thank God my wife’s scans taken at Savannah were negative,” Frank Ducey wrote in his email to the county. “The good thing was that she got those CAT scans.”

Frank Ducey broke two ribs in the accident, an ailment diagnosed two days after the wreck, he said.


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Justin man dies after jumping from ambulance, officials say

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

FORT WORTH, TX – A Justin man died late Thursday from injuries he received while jumping from an ambulance that was taking him to the hospital, according to reports.

The 29-year-old man died at 11:12 p.m. at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, the Tarrant County medical examiner reported.

The Star-Telegram generally does not report the names of suicide victims.

Denton County Sheriff’s deputies were called at 9:17 p.m. Thursday to the man’s home in Justin, said Tom Reedy, sheriff’s spokesman.

The man, reportedly gripped by anxiety, had cut himself in the chest with a butcher knife and was running down the street, Reedy said.

The man’s grandmother called his sister, who then called the sheriff’s deputies, Reedy said.

Deputies found the man and then put him into an ambulance from the Justin Volunteer Fire Department, Reedy said. He was compliant and alert as he communicated with deputies, Reedy said.

He said medics were taking the man to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Denton to be treated for the cuts and to evaluate his mental health, Reedy said.

The ambulance traveled about half way on the 20-mile trip to Denton, Reedy said.

But, while a medic was communicating with people at the hospital, the man “unbuckled the belts holding him to gurney, opened the door, stepped on the back bumper and jumped out,” Reedy said.

That happened on Farm Road 407 near the overpass for Interstate 35W, about 11 miles southwest of Denton.

The man, Reedy added, suffered severe head injuries.

He was taken by helicopter ambulance to Harris in Fort Worth, but he could not be saved, Reedy said.


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Ambulance Crashes Into Store In Brockton

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

BROCKTON, NY ―The EMTs and passengers of a Rapid Ambulance had luck on their side Friday morning. Bricks rained down when the ambulance slammed into the front of a store after being hit by a car in a Brockton intersection.

It happened around 6:15 a.m. at the corner of Belmont (Route 123) and Manomet Streets.

Investigators say a car hit the ambulance in the intersection, forcing it to run up onto a curb and into the entrance of P & G Wear, a clothing store at 301 Belmont Street.


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Car hits ambulance responding to call

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

ESOPUS, NY – An ambulance on the way to a call was struck by an oncoming vehicle on Union Center Road in the Town of Esopus, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Thursday afternoon accident occurred when a Town of Esopus Ambulance was responding to a call and a vehicle going in the opposite direction failed to negotiate a curve and struck the ambulance.

The driver of the ambulance, Andrew Cafaldo, and his passenger, Britney Halstein, were treated at an area hospital for minor injuries.

The driver of the other vehicle, Alanna Chiausa of New Paltz, was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries. She was issued tickets for failure to keep right and speed not reasonable.

Deputies were assisted at the scene by St. Remy Fire Department, Town of Esopus Ambulance and Mobile Life.

At the time of the accident, the ambulance was responding to a two car crash on Rout e9W in Esopus. A car was traveling northbound when it crossed into the opposite lane and into the path of a pickup truck, police said. A witness to the accident said the truck appeared to attempt to avoid the collision by driving into the northbound lane.

The car then crossed back into the northbound lane and struck the pickup truck head on, police said.

Two people in the car and one in the truck were injured and taken to hospitals.


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Mine Hill man was driver in fatal ambulance crash

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

MINE HILL TWP., NJ –  A 62-year-old township man was injured after the Atlantic Ambulance he was driving struck a tree and utility pole on Route 519 in White Township on Thursday, Jan. 14.

The crash also killed a retired special education aide at the Mountain View School in Mount Olive who was strapped to a stretcher in the ambulance at the time of the accident.

According to published reports, George Morris Jr., lost control of the vehicle at about 3:31 p.m. as he was transporting Carol Porphy, 68, of Oxford, to Warren Haven nursing home in Mansfield Township. Police said Morris apparently lost control while trying to turn left off the roadway.

Porphy died at the scene while rescue workers were able to extricate Miller from the ambulance.

He was taken by N.J. State Police helicopter to Morristown Memorial Hospital where he was treated for leg injuries and facial cuts and released.

Glen Brodt, 36, of Allentown, Pa., an emergency medical technician in the ambulance, was taken by helicopter to St. Luke’s Hospital in Fountain Hill, Pa., for treatment of head cuts and pain in an arm, police said.

The accident remains under investigation.

Porphy was an aide in a special education class at Mountain View School in Flanders from 1973 to 1992, according to the school district.  Authorities said Porphy is survived by two sons, Jeff and Bill, and a daughter, Dawn Schnezler.


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Ambulance, van crash in Utica; 3 sent to hospital

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

UTICA, NY — Three people — including a city firefighter and a paramedic student — were sent to the hospital Thursday after a minivan struck an ambulance responding to a call, officials said.

Firefighter Stephen Morrealle was transported to Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare, St. Luke’s campus, with back spasms, while Rural Metro paramedic student Brendan Blunt was brought to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica for head and neck pains, fire officials said.

The driver of the Rescue 2 ambulance — firefighter Leonardo Orlando — did not require any further medical attention following the noon crash at the intersection of the Memorial Parkway and Oneida Street.

Utica police said Orlando was driving the ambulance south on Oneida Street with its emergency sirens and lights activated when a white van heading west on the Memorial Parkway struck the ambulance.

The driver of the van – Carlo Logalbo, 68, of Utica – also was taken to a local hospital for injuries, officials said.

The accident remains under investigation, and it could not be learned whether any tickets had been issued.

The ambulance was responding to an Eastwood Avenue residence in South Utica for a reported fall with injuries, officials said. A second ambulance was sent to that location to transport the injured person.

Although several witnesses said the ambulance did stop at intersection before attempting to cross the roadway, Assistant Fire Chief Andre Esposito said it still was unclear Wednesday whether the ambulance’s traffic light was red or green.

Nevertheless, Esposito said emergency responders as well as motorists always must be aware of other vehicles on the road, no matter if they have the right of way.

“You can’t count on everybody paying attention out there,” Esposito said. “You never know what somebody else is going to do, and you can’t always assume that somebody is going to stop at an intersection.”

The Rescue 2 ambulance was slightly damaged in the accident, but it will remain available as a backup until its repairs are completed, Esposito said.


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Bus And Ambulance Collide In North Augusta

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

North Augusta, GA—A Best Friend Express Bus and an ambulance collided Thursday morning on West Buena Vista Avenue at Alta Vista Avenue, in North Augusta. The accident happended next to Lion’s Field.

The ambulance got the worst of it…quite a bit of front end damage.

According to Lance Corporal Judd Jones, with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, two people were injured and taken to the hospital with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

L/Cpl. Jones could not confirm if anyone was in the ambulance or if they were one of the ones injured in the crash.

The crash is still under investigation, as the trooper taking statements was on his way to the hospital at the time to get information from the victims.


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Former EMT’s send ambulance on fake run then burglarize station for drugs

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

SANTA FE, NM – Tuesday evening Santa Fe police and EMS were dispatched to investigate a man down behind a business in the 4200 block of FM 1764.

The police and EMS response was subsequent to a 911 caller reporting the man down. In the 911 call, the caller states she thinks the man needs an ambulance. Upon arrival of Santa Fe police and EMS no emergency was found to exist and no victim was located. Based on the scene findings units cleared quickly and were back in service. The call itself seems suspicious prompting Sgt. Bruss to advise dispatch to immediately relay any alarms as this may have been a decoy call.

A few minutes later police were dispatched to the Santa Fe EMS station to investigate a disturbance. It was determined that the disturbance occurred after the ambulance returned to their stattion and caught discovered two former employees inside.

Sgt. Eric Bruss said¬†the investigation revealed the two women acted together in calling in a bogus 911 call which prompted the ambulance to leave the station. Once the medics and ambulance keft the EMS building, one of the women burglarized the second ambulance remaining in the station while the second woman acted as a “look out”.

Although the investigation continues, it appears that narcotics from the ambulance was the target of the crime.

Amanda Grigg

Heather Bemrose

Arrested were Amanda Kay Grigg, 37 of Santa Fe and Heather Elizabeth Bemrose, 39 also of Santa Fe.

Grigg is charged with Burglary of Motor vehicle, Possession of Dangerous Drugs and False Alarm and is held in lieu of $8,000 bond.

Bemrose is charged with Burglary of Motor Vehicle and False Alarm and is held under a $6,500.00 bond.


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Former EMS workers take plea deal

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

SUMNER COUNTY, TN – Two former Sumner County EMS administrators entered conditional guilty pleas under the pretrial diversion statute for several drug charges levied against them from their time working for EMS.

The charges stem from an investigation of alleged thefts of controlled substances stretching from July 31 to Oct. 31, 2008, according to authorities.

Barry Clardy, former assistant director of Sumner County EMS, was charged with two counts obtaining drugs by fraud, three counts forgery, four counts theft up to $500, two counts simple possession and one count official misconduct.

As part of his plea agreement, Clardy received judicial diversion for charges of obtaining drugs by fraud, forgery, two counts of theft under $500, possession of schedule II and official misconduct.

The remaining charges were nolle prosequi, meaning that while Clardy will not be prosecuted on the charges, the District Attorney’s office reserves the right to pursue them at a later date if they so desire.

Clardy must serve a four-year probationary period as part of his pretrial diversion. Should he violate the terms of his probation, he would be subject to sentencing on the charges. If that happened, Clardy could be sentenced to four years in jail at 30 percent.

Following the completion of his probation, Clardy would be able to have the charges expunged from his record.

As part of his plea agreement, Clardy was also given a lifelong ban from employment or volunteer work with access to scheduled drugs. He is also surrendering his EMT license. He is also required to contribute $1,000 to Sumner EMS.

Former EMS worker Allen Mason, who served as the resource manager, was charged with two counts obtaining drugs by fraud, three counts forgery, six counts theft up to $500 and one count official misconduct.

The terms of his pretrial diversion include conditional guilty pleas to obtaining drugs by fraud, two counts of theft under $500, two counts of forgery and one count of official misconduct.

Mason is also required to donate $1,000 to Sumner EMS and serve four years of probation. During that period, he must present a letter to any potential medical employer that informs them of his conventional guilty pleas. The Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Board may require Mason to present the letter to potential employers for a longer period than his probation.

Both men were fired by EMS soon after their arrests. Clardy had been employed there for 11 years, and Mason had worked there for 15.

Another stipulation of the plea agreements is that Clardy and Mason are to have no contact with Sumner EMS, any scheduled drug or each other.


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Ambulance involved in crash; 2 EMTs receive minor injuries

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

Two EMTs were taken to the hospital after their ambulance struck a van during an emergency run on Tuesday afternoon, according to Metro Emergency Medical Services and MetroSafe Communications.

The Louisville metro ambulance was on an emergency run with its lights and sirens on, said Kristen Miller, Metro EMS chief of staff. No patient was in the back at the time.

The accident happened just before 2 p.m. near the intersection of Frankfort Avenue and Oxford Place, said a MetroSafe Communications supervisor.

As the ambulance was trying to get around traffic, a vehicle tried to turn left and pulled in front of it, Miller said. The ambulance struck the vehicle, which MetroSafe reported was a van.

Two crew members in the ambulance were transported to Baptist Hospital East with minor injuries, Miller said. One person in the van was treated at the scene and declined to be transported to a hospital.

The emergency call to which the ambulance was responding was dispatched to another unit, Miller said.


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Former state EMS Assn. director being investigated for unaccounted for narcotics

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

RACINE COUNTY, WI – The Racine County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the Wisconsin EMS Association’s former executive director for a report of unaccounted for narcotics, according to the sheriff’s department.

Don Hunjadi, who was president of the Wind Lake Volunteer Fire Company from 1989 to 2007, was suspended from both the Wind Lake Volunteer Fire Company and the Wisconsin EMS Association, according to officials and an EMS publication. He resigned from the EMS Association effective Dec. 31, according to an EMS Association publication.

The investigation started after Hunjadi crashed his truck into a field around 8:30 a.m. Oct. 13. He was driving on East Wind Lake Road and veered off the side of the road, according to the accident report.

“This incident and Don’s recovery brought many previously unknown facts to light which has resulted in an ongoing investigation by Racine County Sheriff’s investigators and a federal investigator,” according to a Jan. 8 Wisconsin EMS Association publication. The president of the Wisconsin EMS Association – an association which has more than 7,000 individual members and represents several hundred Wisconsin EMS service and fire departments – did not return calls for comment.

The accident was due to reduced alertness and a drug and alcohol test were not given, the accident report said.

A week after the crash, Racine County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Dan Klatt said the sheriff’s department received a report from an individual connecting Hunjadi to unaccounted for narcotics. Klatt said he could not say who made the report or what he meant by unaccounted for narcotics.

He did say he believes that Hunjadi had authority to order narcotics through his EMS positions.

The same month as the crash, Hunjadi was suspended from the fire company due to issues with record keeping, said Rob Robins, fire chief for the Wind Lake Volunteer Fire Company.

Hunjadi was the EMS captain for the fire company at the time and as captain Hunjadi was in charge of training drills and ensuring procedures were up to date, Robins said. Hunjadi also had authority to order medications, he said. Robins said his fire company is still investigating the record keeping issues.

Hunjadi could not be reached for comment.


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Shelby Co. EMS say company sold faulty stretchers

Posted on 27 January 2010 by wyoskibum

CENTER, TX¬† – Nearly $22,000 dollars worth of medical equipment. Jessie Griffith says it’s useless.

“We’ve had a couple of instances where the stretcher has fallen with patients on them and has hurt our medics to keep it from falling to the ground,” said Jessie Griffith of Northeast Texas EMS Supervisor.

They’ve had the stretchers for about a year, but they quit using them months ago.

“Just a few months after we bought the stretchers, we had problems with the total wheel assembly breaking off the stretcher and had to order new wheels, said Griffith. ¬†¬†”We had cables breaking.”

He says it takes three people to get the stretcher to raise and lower.  The problem is he only sends out two paramedics to each call.

“We had to take those stretchers off of the trucks for the last four months and use borrowed stretchers from the Lufkin Fire Department,” said Griffith.

The Northeast Texas EMS Paramedics say it’s frustrating when you average about 800 calls a month.

“We are the only 911 service for Shelby and San Augustine County.¬† We have no back up,” Griffith said.

“When we deal with people in emergencies, primarily, we teach all the medics to remain calm and when you become frustrated, then you lose that calm.¬† Once you lose that calm, then you kind of lost any of your credibility with your patient,” said Shon Cooper an EMS Supervisor.

Griffith says the stretcher that monster medic incorporated gave them to try out seemed to work fine, but the five they were sent have only been trouble.

“At one point about four months ago, they told me that they were going to send another stretcher up here, upgraded stretcher for us to try out to see if that would work.¬† Since that time, they have not answered any phone calls, haven’t answered any emails, and we haven’t seen the stretcher,” said Griffith.

He says they’re supposed to have a three-year warranty and he just wants the company to take them back.

“They told me that we had to return them within the first three months in the original packaging that we got them in,” Griffith said.

But, the paramedics say the issue goes beyond wanting a refund.

“It could be the difference between life and death several times,” said Griffith. “We should feel comfortable that if we put a patient on that stretcher, it’s not going to fall.”

Griffith says especially when you’re transporting critically ill patients.

KTRE contacted Monster Medic, Incorporated and they say the stretchers are beyond the return policy.  A spokesperson for the company says they are limited by the warranty and return policies that are in place.

But, he claims the owner has reached out to Griffith, but has heard nothing back.  He says the return policy states unused, undamaged equipment can be returned in the package before 180 days is up for a full refund.


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Vt. ambulance involved in Keene accident

Posted on 20 January 2010 by wyoskibum

KEENE – No one was seriously injured when a Vermont ambulance collided with a vehicle this morning shortly after 10 a.m.

Details of the crash are still emerging as fire and police crews are still at the Route 12 and Wyman Road scene of the accident, said Keene Fire Capt. Ron Leslie.

The crash involved a vehicle and a Golden Cross Ambulance, based out of Vermont.

Leslie said initial reports from the scene indicate everyone involved in the crash was, “up and walking around.” Those involved in the crash were taken to Cheshire Medical Center Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene, including the ambulance passenger, for evaluation.


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Ambulance Skids Off Road With Patient Inside

Posted on 20 January 2010 by wyoskibum

KEENE, N.H. — An ambulance transporting a patient to Cheshire Medical Center skidded off the road Monday morning.Keene fire officials said the incident happened on Route 12 at the intersection of Wyman Road in Keene. The ambulance, operated by Golden Cross, of Westminster, Vt., was bringing a man to the hospital when it left the road and skidded approximately 75 to 100 feet, said Keene police.The man and an ambulance attendant were both taken via another ambulance to Cheshire Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening.


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