Archive | February, 2010

Former Ambulance Service Director Wanted for Embezzlement

Posted on 19 February 2010 by wyoskibum

KIOWA COUNTY, Okla. – The former director of an ambulance service in Kiowa County is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from that service.

Investigators say 44-year-old Joell Brittain took the money from 2005 until 2007. They have issued a warrant for her arrest on one count of embezzlement and expect her to turn herself in, but at this point, they are not sure where she is.

District Attorney John Wampler says that several ambulance board members noticed financial inconsistencies such as just how much Brittain was paying herself to be director; double what the previous director got.

None of those board members would talk on camera because they say they could be called to testify at some point, but they say some of the signs were obvious. Wampler says the board members first brought the problems to his attention in 2007 shortly before Brittain left the job.

“There were instances where insurance premiums were being paid out of EMS funds on behalf of her son, which was not authorized by the board,” said Wampler. “There were hours she was claiming she worked, which the records do not support. There were instances of days where she was claiming in excess of 24 hours a day she worked.”

Wampler says that once those problems were brought to his attention they started an investigation.

“We asked the state auditors office to come in and conduct an audit and then at some point while that was going on we also asked the OSBI to do a criminal investigation,” said Wampler.

Those investigations found there was somewhere between $1,000 and $25,000 missing. Money that Wampler believes they have a good chance of getting back.

“Over the course of the last several years, part as the economy has soured we’ve had a number of embezzlement cases throughout my district and we’ve been pretty lucky in getting rest paid back.”

Wampler says Brittain actually started working for the ambulance service in 1998, but they only did an audit from 2005 to 2007 to avoid statute of limitation problems.


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Jamestown Man Dead After Ambulance Accident

Posted on 19 February 2010 by wyoskibum

JAMESTOWN/FARGO, ND – An 92-year-old Jamestown man died Thursday at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, three days after the ambulance he was in rolled on a slippery stretch of Interstate 94.

Albert Geiszler was being transported from Jamestown to Fargo for a pre-existing condition when the ambulance rolled after crossing an icy bridge five miles east of Fargo, near Mapleton.

The Highway Patrol said in its report that it is unknown if the rollover contributed to Geiszler’s death.  Jamestown Ambulance officials had said that Geiszler was being treated at Meritcare for injuries unrelated to the accident.

The Patrol said earlier that the driver Chad Mueller, 29, of Jamestown, was not injured.

It was also reported that paramedics attending to Geiszler were treated for minor injuries and released.  Sarah Ulmer 33, of Edgeley and Michael Techentin, 23, of Jamestown, were taken to Innovis Hospital in Fargo after the accident.

Jamestown Ambulance Service’s Nancy Miller said they will borrow a vehicle from the ambulance service in Fergus Falls, Minnesota until they can acquire a replacement ambulance.


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Hilton Head fire chief incensed by bills that shield EMS data from the public

Posted on 17 February 2010 by admin

The Town of Hilton Head Island fire chief railed against the secrecy shrouding EMS systems throughout South Carolina during a meeting Tuesday of a town committee charged with forming official positions on bills in the legislature.

Three bills now before lawmakers involve how much data can be released to the public on EMS operations. Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Chief Lavarn Lucas said none of the three go far enough in opening public access to EMS data.

“In our opinion, they do not free it up significantly,” Lucas told the committee.

In coming weeks, Hilton Head Town Council’sIntergovernmental Relations Committee will write to officials in Columbia outlining the town’s stance on the bills. Committee members said Tuesday they were ready to accept Lucas’ recommendations, pending a meeting to discuss them with state Rep. Richard Chalk, R-Hilton Head.

“We’d like to effect changes to the statewide EMS system,” Lucas said. “I’m not going to say it’s backwards, but it’s not the most progressive system out there.”

The current law regarding EMS operations, passed in 2004, restricts public access to virtually all EMS data, according to an August opinion from the state Attorney General’s office. Beaufort County officials requested that opinion after denying requests from The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette for EMS response-time data.

The two bills in the House have provisions that still would restrict ambulance response-time data — statistics crucial for public scrutiny of EMS systems, Lucas said.

“It frees (the data) up partially, but not as much as we think is appropriate,” Lucas said. “… The data used to determine the efficacy of our operation should be available for public scrutiny.”

One of the bills contains a measure that keeps secret state investigations regarding paramedic misconduct — information that Lucas said also should be available to the public.

“If a paramedic ever acted inappropriately, no one would ever know,” he said. “… There’s no reason that (an investigation) should be hidden. It forces us to hide behind a wall and makes us appear guilty when we haven’t done anything wrong.”

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Ambulance Flips in Gallatin County

Posted on 17 February 2010 by admin

An ambulance in Gallatin County flipped on Tuesday morning while taking a patient to the hospital.

The accident happened around 10:15 a.m. on US 42 just west of Verona. Officials say the ambulance ended up overturned on the side of the road.

The initial patient and a paramedic are being taken to the hospital. It’s not clear why the patient was being taken to the hospital in the first place or if that person suffered additional injury in the crash.

The condition of the paramedic is not known.

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Washington Heights Man Barricades Himself in Ambulance

Posted on 17 February 2010 by admin

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A Washington Heights man barricaded himself inside of an FDNY ambulance and allegedly said he was armed with a gun on Wednesday morning, witnesses said.

The man, who witnesses describe as a twenty-something living at 190th Street and Audubon Avenue, called 9-1-1 and requested an ambulance, saying he was feeling ill.

When paramedics put the man into the ambulance, he started shouting that he had a gun and was going to shoot, according to witnesses.

“There was a driver in the front of the ambulance and a technician in back with the patient and when the patient threatened them with the gun he didn’t have, they retreated from the vehicle and called the police,” a Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital EMT who responded to the call for police backup told DNAinfo.

NYPD Emergency Services, FDNY, and additional ambulances arrived on the scene and taped off a two-block radius around the ambulance in which the patient barricaded himself on 189th Street and Audubon Avenue.

“I opened the door to see what was going on and the police and SWAT team were right out front telling us to go back inside immediately,” said Sherryanne Martinez, 26, who works on the corner at which the ambulance was parked.

Police entered the ambulance and determined that the man was unarmed, according to the EMT. They negotiated with him for about 15 minutes before drawing him out of the ambulance and placing him in handcuffs.

“Police did a thorough search of the vehicle after cuffing the patient to make sure there wasn’t a discarded weapon,” the EMT said.
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2 ex-EMTs sentenced for setting fires in Buffalo

Posted on 17 February 2010 by admin

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Two former emergency medical technicians for an ambulance service have been sentenced for setting fires in Buffalo while on duty.

Jonathan Safe of West Seneca was sentenced Tuesday to up to three years in prison after admitting he started fires at two vacant houses last May. The 20-year-old former volunteer firefighter pleaded guilty in December to felony arson and attempted arson charges.

His EMT partner at the time, 22-year-old Lindsey Sgro (skroh) of Cheektowaga (cheek-tuh-WAH’-guh) was sentenced to five years probation after she admitted to starting the first fire with Safe.

Safe and Sgro were working for Rural/Metro Corp. at the time they set the fires.

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Paramedic attacked while treating drunk

Posted on 12 February 2010 by wyoskibum

A PARAMEDIC was allegedly assaulted in the back of an ambulance as they tried to treat a drunken man in St Helier.

The JEP understands that the ambulance officer was left shaken after the incident, but was not seriously injured.

It is believed that the paramedic was assaulted after the Ambulance Service attended an incident in St Helier with the States police.

No one from the Ambulance Service would comment on the alleged attack, which happened earlier this month, as it is currently being investigated by police.


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Suspected ambulance joy rider charged with felony

Posted on 12 February 2010 by wyoskibum

MADISON (WKOW) — An Illinois man accused of commandeering an ambulance with a patient inside was charged Wednesday with the felony crime of vehicle theft.
A Dane County court commissioner set bail at $1,000 for Nicholas Pontillo, 24, of Lake Villa, Il.
Authorities and eyewitnesses said Pontillo slipped into the driver’s seat of an ambulance at Tyrol Basin ski resort Monday as two paramedics treated a¬†high school competitor’s skiing injury in the back of the emergency vehicle, and drove a short distance in a parking lot.
Dane County emergency management specialist Carrie Meier told WKOW27 News the alleged, bizarre theft attempt may have been thwarted because the emergency responders had followed required procedure.
“They had the emergency brake on.¬†¬† That’s one thing we always do for safety reasons.”
Authorities said Pontillo ran off but was caught.   Authorities said Pontillo was intoxicated.   One eyewitness told WKOW27 News he suspects Pontillo may have driven the ambulance on a dare.
Authorities and Tyrol officials expressed concern over someone’s interference with an emergency response.
“It is a big deal when someone takes control of an emergency vehicle,”¬†¬† Tyrol Basin general manager Don McKay said.
Meier said it’s standard practice for a responding¬†ambulance crew to leave the vehicle’s¬†engine¬†idling, to provide heat inside and power equipment installed in the ambulance.¬†¬†¬†Meier said¬†while ambulance crews will¬†sometimes include a third member as a driver, both members of a two person crew¬†sometimes¬†need to¬†exit the ambulance’s cab and work to stabilize a patient.
Meier said emergency responders are always prepared for security risks.
“The first thing we learn in EMS class, when we take our course is scene safety.¬†¬† That’s a big deal, scene size-up.”
Meier said at crime scenes, ambulance crews will delay arrival if the scene is not secured and safe, and are almost always assisted by law enforcement.
McKay said the teenage patient in the ambulance had a painful knee injury and was successfully transported after the emergency responders regained control of the vehicle.

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Man allegedly steals ambulance with patient inside

Posted on 12 February 2010 by wyoskibum

MADISON, Wis. — Authorities say a drunken man stole an ambulance from a Wisconsin ski area with the patient and paramedics still inside. The Dane County Sheriff’s Department says emergency responders were treating a patient in the back of the ambulance at the Tyrol Basin Ski and Snowboard Area in Mount Horeb on Monday night. They say a 24-year-old Illinois man got into the vehicle and drove it around the parking lot.

The sheriff’s department says deputies arrested the man. But it is unclear how he was stopped.

Fitch-Rona Medical Service Deputy Chief Dale Dow says the ambulance’s emergency brake was on and paramedics were still in the back when the man got inside. He says he doesn’t know what happened after that.

No other details were immediately available.


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Mohall Ambulance Receives Funding

Posted on 12 February 2010 by admin

They’re the people in rural North Dakota who dedicate their time to saving the lives of others, and oftentimes, they do so on a volunteer basis.

Rural fire and ambulance squads are always on-call to provide help when needed, but as Dan Erdmann reports, one local group just received a little help of its own.

(Diane Witteman, Mohall Ambulance) “This has been something that we’ve been working on for over ten years and it’s finally become a reality.”

(Dan Erdman, KX News) As Diane Witteman and other Mohall Fire and Ambulance volunteers stand in the reality that is their new emergency services facility, they look back at the long process it took to get here, and praise those who made it possible.

Read more here

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Ambulance Refuses to Respond to Rural Medical Call

Posted on 09 February 2010 by wyoskibum

McCrory, AZ РMedical emergencies happen everyday, and patients expect an ambulance to come quickly when they call for one.  Channel 7 News, however, has learned of an ambulance company that refused to come in certain cases and the next-nearest service was more than 30 miles away.

Melissa Bumpers, 57, was at her home in McCrory when she fell to the ground around noon December 31.  When a neighbor called 911 for her, the dispatcher promised an ambulance would get to her soon but Woodruff County Ambulance Service had its only two units out of the county on other calls.  The only other service in the county, Southern Paramedic, which was not obligated to respond, initially refused to go on the call.  This was the radio call that ensued:

SOUTHERN PACIFIC: “Medical Dispatch. What’s your emergency?
911 OPERATOR: “Yes, ma’am.¬† This is Alex at Woodruff County.¬† I need your Augusta unit, southern, it is 10-8, right?”
SP: “Uh, huh.”
911: “I need it to go to McCrory for me….I have got a lady who is unconscious.¬† Her neighbor found her on the floor and can’t get her to respond.”
SP: “You all don’t have any units to go to McCrory?”

911: “No, we do not.”
SP: “‘Cause I don’t think we can take the call.”
911: “Yes, I assure you, you can.”
SP: “Does she have a membership?”
911: “I do not know that.”
SP: “You don’t know?”
911: “No.”
SP: “Understand.¬† We can’t take it.”
911: “Okay, thank you.”

911 Dispatch Log: “I then called my supervisor for some guidance what to do.¬† She advised me to get an ambulance, so I called North Star (Searcy)!”

While the 911 operator worked to get an ambulance from North Star in Searcy more than 30 miles away, Southern eventually agreed to make the run.

SOUTHERN PACIFIC: “Medical Dispatch.¬† What’s your emergency?”
911 OPERATOR: “Yes, this is Alex with Woodruff County.¬† I need your unit to go to McCrory NOW.”

SP: “Excuse me?”
911: “I need a unit in McCrory.¬† I have a possible heart attack.”

According to a dispatch log, it took 25 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, and relatives tell Channel 7 News by that time, Mrs. Bumpers had already died.


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Jamestown ambulance rolls near Fargo

Posted on 09 February 2010 by wyoskibum

FARGO, ND – Three people involved in an ambulance rollover five miles west of here were transported to MeritCare Hospital this afternoon, the Highway Patrol said.

A Jamestown, N.D., ambulance carrying three personnel and an elderly male patient was headed east on Interstate 94 when it rolled at mile marker 341 shortly before 3 p.m., said Sgt. Troy Hischer.

The driver lost control after crossing an icy bridge, Hischer said. The ambulance did a complete roll through the median and landed on its wheels in the westbound lane of I-94.

The elderly male remained in the gurney when the ambulance turned over, but he did suffer a head injury, Hischer said. It is unknown why he was being transported to Fargo.

The two ambulance personnel in the back appeared to suffer head, neck and back injuries, Hischer said.

They were tossed around pretty good, he said.

All three were taken to MeritCare Hospital. The extent of their injuries is unknown, but Hischer said all three were talking at the scene.

The driver was not taken to the hospital.

The Highway Patrol likely will not release the names until Tuesday because of the number of crashes troopers have been responding to today, Hischer said.

The roads are extremely icy out there in the rural interstate areas,he said. This storm has definitely tested our abilities to cover all these crashes.


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Former paramedic indicted on forgery charges

Posted on 09 February 2010 by wyoskibum

GLASGOW, Ky. — A former paramedic and law enforcement officer was indicted on 10 felony and 12 misdemeanor forgery counts for faking signatures to obtain large amounts of narcotics.

The Glasgow Daily Times reported on Friday that a grand jury returned the counts on Jan. 27 against 39-year-old Roy J. Howard.

Howard was a former trooper with the Kentucky State Police and an officer with the Glasgow Police Department. He was working as a paramedic when he was arrested on May 1.The indictment states that between 2008 and 2009, Howard allegedly forged signatures of doctors at T.J. Samson Community Hospital and employees of the Barren-Metcalfe Emergency Medical Services to obtain large quantities of prescription narcotics, specifically morphine, illegally at the hospital.


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East Dundee man charged with assaulting firefighter

Posted on 09 February 2010 by wyoskibum

CHICAGO, IL – An ex-military man who exhibited “some erratic behavior” that required medical attention Monday, pushed a fireman/paramedic out of the ambulance that had come to take him to the hospital, authorities said.

Brian J. Backes, 29, of the 400 block of Dunridge Court in East Dundee, was charged with aggravated battery to a fireman, a Class 2 felony that carries a prison sentence up to seven years, if convicted.

According to police, an ambulance arrived at Backes’s home at 5:48 p.m. to take him to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates for evaluation.

“After he was placed in the ambulance, he became combative and he forcefully pushed one of the paramedics twice,” East Dundee Police Chief Terry Mee said.

The paramedic fell against the rear door and out of the parked ambulance on the second push and onto the ground.

“Fortunately, he was not injured,” Mee said.

After that, authorities restrained Backes and the ambulance took him to the hospital.

During his hospital evaluation, police pursued criminal charges and arrested him Thursday.

During a bond hearing Friday, Backes told Kane County Judge Karen Simpson he has been living with his parents since being released from the military in 2007.

Backes said he takes prescription medicine for obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and he sees a counselor weekly.

Simpson set Backes’s bond at $30,000, and he must post $3,000 to be released from Kane County jail.

His next court date is Feb. 10 at the Kane County Judicial Center.


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