Archive | March, 2011

Fort Myers family to sue over alleged wrongful death

Posted on 25 March 2011 by wyoskibum

FORT MYERS, FL – The family of a Fort Myers man who was discovered alive after Lee County EMS declared him dead plans to sue for wrongful death and infliction of emotional distress.

Paperwork filed Monday by attorney Craig Stevens with Morgan & Morgan accuses EMS of employee negligence.

“We have put the county on notice,” Stevens said. “We now have a six-month period of time to wait and see how they respond.”

State law caps the amount the family can receive from the county at $200,000.

An internal county investigation is ongoing, so it’s not clear whether proper procedure was followed. Mike Figeuroa, the county’s risk manager, said Monday the notice was received, and because it is now a legal matter, he could not comment further.

What is known is this:

On the morning of Jan. 31, Tarver, 71, was dying of a heart attack at his Central Avenue home. His wife Penola, 67, called 911 at 5:48 a.m., and police logs show Tarver was pronounced dead at 6:12 a.m.

But more than an hour later, when undertaker Horace Barrett Jr. came to retrieve Tarver’s body from the bedroom floor, he found Tarver struggling to breathe. Tarver was rushed to Gulf Coast Medical Center, where he died four days later.

“He was probably trying to catch a breath that whole time in that room, alone,” Barrett later said. “My question is, if they had taken him to the hospital sooner, would he still be here?”

For Tarver’s family, the same question lingers. Stevens said Tarver — a retired construction worker, father of five and grandfather of 16 — had no pre-existing medical conditions.

The lawsuit will focus on the alleged wrongful death of Tarver and the suffering of his wife of 49 years, who watched it all unfold. But Stevens said Tarver’s children, who were also present when Tarver was found to be alive, could also file claims at some point for emotional distress.

“All of this has certainly affected them deeply,” Stevens said.


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Mascoutah ambulance out of commission after accident

Posted on 25 March 2011 by wyoskibum

MASCOUTAH, IL – Mascoutah’s main ambulance will be out of action possibly for several weeks after being struck by a van at 8:55 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Plum Hill Road and Illinois 177 west of Mascoutah, according to Mascoutah police.

The ambulance, driven by paramedic Keith Grogan and occupied by paramedic Patrick Girardin, was stopped on Plum Hill Road at the aforementioned intersection when an eastbound 2007 Chrysler van driven by Deborah Pazderka, of Belleville, attempted a right turn at a high rate of speed onto Plum Hill Road from Illinois 177, according to Mascoutah police.

She did not make the turn and struck the rear driver’s side of the ambulance, police reported. There was a large amount of damage to the van, and the ambulance was pushed over a foot and damage was caused to the rear “box” area.

Pazderka did not return a call for comment.

No injuries were reported at the scene.

Mascoutah Police Chief Bruce Fleshren stated in an e-mail that Illinois State Police handled the accident, and he did not know whether anyone was cited. An attempt to get information about the accident from state police Monday night was unsuccessful.

The ambulance will need to be evaluated and repaired before it can be returned to service. In the meantime the department will use the back-up ambulance to avoid an interruption of service.

No cost estimate on the damage to the ambulance has been completed yet, Fleshren stated.


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Medical Center accident causes ambulance to flip

Posted on 25 March 2011 by wyoskibum

SAN ANTONIO – At around 9:25 a.m. Monday, an accident caused an ambulance to roll over in the Medical Center area.

The ambulance was not carrying a patient inside though it was on the way in response to a call.

Reportedly, the ambulance got clipped by a Jaguar. It had it’s lights and siren on when it rolled onto the side.

One of the ambulance responders went to Methodist Hospital for a checkup.

The other driver did not suffer any injuries.


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Collier firefighters cleared of paramedic test cheating, Hiller suggests apology

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

NAPLES — Collier firefighters and a Bonita Springs paramedic training school have been cleared of 2010 paramedic test-cheating allegations following a Florida Bureau of EMS probe.

The Collier County Commission requested the state investigation in November after Jeff Page, chief of Collier County Emergency Medical Services, alleged cheating in a paramedic preparatory class that enrolled firefighters from several Collier departments, including the city of Naples, North Naples, Isles of Capri and Ochopee.

In a letter sent to Page dated March 1, the Bureau of EMS stated that after “an extensive investigation” it was determined that there were no violations and the case would be closed.

Though the state inquiry is over, a debate over how the county staff handled the complaint may have just begun.

Collier Commissioner Georgia Hiller, who wasn’t yet on the commission when the accusations were made, has requested a discussion at Tuesday’s meeting. She said she has concerns with how the county staff investigated the complaint.

“I am bringing it forward so the public understands that the accusations made were baseless,” Hiller wrote in an e-mail to the Daily News.

The Medical Career Institute, run by Miami-Dade firefighter Richard Gonzalez, offers a variety of classes to prepare study for state licenses in emergency service jobs, including classes for students to get their paramedic’s license. The school is licensed by the state Department of Heath.

Allegations against the school were raised at the Nov. 9 Collier commission meeting after Page compiled a list of sworn statements from students in the class that he said pointed to testing inconsistencies that may have violated state statute.

According to the statements, several firefighters, including ones from North Naples and Naples, were given a study guide to prepare for an exam on patient drug calculations for that class, while other students in the class weren’t given the guide. That study guide, the sworn statements said, turned out to contain the questions on the actual exam given.

Commissioners voted 4-1, with Tom Henning dissenting, to send a complaint to the state for investigation.

Voting in favor, Commissioner Fred Coyle said the commission wasn’t casting judgment on the guilt of the parties in question, but felt the allegations were serious enough to prompt an investigation.

However, Gonzalez and several firefighters at the meeting dismissed the inquiry as retaliation over past disputes between Collier EMS and the North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District.

Gonzalez reported that test questions were given to students instead of a study guide by mistake and he later administered a retest. He said he also self-reported the mistake to the Bureau of EMS.

Eloy Ricardo, a North Naples firefighter and a student in the class in question, was mentioned by name in the allegations.

Collier County Commissioner Georgia Hiller has complained she has been unable to obtain the affidavits of firefighters in the paramedic test-cheating investigation. Below are the documents the Daily News obtained late last year.

He said accusations were unfairly brought to the public’s attention because he was employed by the North Naples fire district, which was at odds at the time with Collier EMS over expanding the level of medical services.

This wasn’t the first time Collier firefighters have been accused of paramedic test cheating. In May 2009, Page and County Emergency Medical Director Dr. Robert Tober accused firefighters in East Naples and North Naples of cheating on medical protocol exams. State EMS investigators declined to investigate that complaint, and internal investigations by the two departments cleared firefighters of wrongdoing.

Hiller said this time, county government owes the accused an acknowledgment of their innocence and an apology.

Hiller, who sided with the North Naples fire district in its pursuit to offer increased medical services, said she has been trying to catch up on how the county conducted its investigation into this complaint. She said she’s heard concerns that affidavits from firefighters were coerced.

However, she said she’s been hampered in her efforts to learn about the investigation because County Attorney Jeffrey Klatzkow has refused to give her the affidavits on which the complaint was based.

Hiller said she has a right to see those documents.

However in an email exchange between the commissioner and county attorney, Klatzkow contends the documents can’t be released because they are part of an investigation.


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Detroit EMS Rig Breaks Down While Responding to Shooting

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

DETROIT, MI – It’s not one of those neighborhoods where people really like to talk, but what happened there early Friday morning was a drive-by shooting where three young men were shot — one five times.  Three ambulances arrived.  One of them broke down.

It happened on the city’s west side around two o’clock in the morning.  Someone opened fire on three young men, who should’ve been in bed.

The first ambulance made it okay.  The second one also made it okay, but then its motor croaked.

“Send another unit.  Ours stopped and it won’t start,” an EMS worker radioed to dispatch.

Nobody died and gunfire is part of life around this neighborhood FOX 2′s Charlie LeDuff was told.  However, what scares residents more is watching an ambulance get towed away.

“The ambulance cannot break down.  What if that was your child?  We need something better,” said Lashonda Banks.

Detroit deserves better, so LeDuff went to fire headquarters again. He wanted answers from Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler — the man responsible for the mess.  He finally caught up to him, but Wheeler had nothing to say.

Remember the row of broken ambulances waiting to be fixed that we kept telling you about?  They’re gone.  So, have they fixed them?  No!  We’re told they’re hiding them so we can’t take pictures of them anymore.

LeDuff says he did that with his report card when he was in third grade and that his mother whooped his behind.

Two of the three young men are in serious condition.  The third is considered temporary serious.


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Cleveland paramedic indicted on theft in office, tampering with records

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

CLEVELAND, OH – A Cleveland Emergency Medical Services field paramedic was indicted Thursday on two counts of theft in office and two counts of tampering with records.

Lamar Barnes, 47, of Cleveland, was an EMS paramedic for nearly 18 years.

Prosecutor Bill Mason said that from 2004 to 2009, Barnes submitted fraudulent medical leave excuse forms to the Cleveland Division of EMS that pertained to medical conditions for both him and his family members.

He was given thousands of dollars in medical leave pay that he was not entitled to collect, Mason said.

Barnes resigned from his EMS position on Dec. 17, 2009, after his supervisors confronted him with their investigation, Mason said.

His arraignment is scheduled for March 30.


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North Branford paramedic program set to begin

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

NORTH BRANFORD, CT — It’s been a long time coming, but the town’s new paramedic program is beginning in a few weeks.

And it took years of requests from the Fire Department, a feasibility study last winter, a Town Council vote to finally OK the move last spring, and state approval. The Fire Department fought for the service because it is the first responder in medical emergencies and calls have been increasing each year.

“I’m overjoyed that after many years, the community will now see a rapid response by a town-based paramedic,” Fire Chief William Seward said Friday, adding that he’s thankful for the Town Council’s support. “I’ve been able to provide the town leaders with data and supporting evidence that demonstrates the obvious needs for paramedics in town. … The calls that require a paramedic remain constant at a minimum of 43 percent.”

The town is planning a small celebration and ribbon-cutting tentatively set for March 26, as paramedics will officially take to the road that day with current emergency medical technicians, according to Town Manager Richard Branigan.

EMTs who respond can provide basic life support, but paramedics are licensed to do many more life-saving procedures. That’s why Mayor Anthony Candelora said instituting the program is “a giant leap” toward saving more lives.

Currently, Fire Department volunteers or EMTs hired through Vintech Management Services are dispatched to provide basic life support when someone dials 911. If a paramedic is needed, volunteers and EMTs wait with the patient until a paramedic arrives or begin driving a patient in an ambulance before meeting a paramedic on the side of the road so the paramedic can stabilize the person.

When the new program starts, a paramedic will travel on an ambulance with an EMT. Because this doesn’t allow the paramedic to leave the scene if another resident needs advanced life support, a paramedic from another service may still be called. Volunteers will still be needed as well.

Though the program earns revenue by billing patients, the town now subsidizes it with around $50,000 a year. For a full year of EMT and paramedic services, the town is projected to pay a subsidy of $160,000, Finance Director Anthony Esposito said.

But because the service is starting more than halfway into the fiscal year, the town will pay only another $60,000 this year. The town will also make a one-time purchase of $70,000 in medical equipment.

When officials went out to bid for paramedic intercept car services last summer, only American Medical Response submitted a proposal: $460,000 for a full year or $190,000 for a half year to run a car driven by a paramedic to the scene. Officials deemed that option too expensive and opted to upgrade with Vintech.

Town Council member Vincent Caprio, a vocal supporter of implementing such a program, said that the town’s growth warrants paramedics.

“I just thought it’s something we’ve really needed, and that’s why I fought for it so hard. There are other things that are on the list that need to be done too, but I think this was more important than most other ones,” Caprio said. “You really can’t put price on human life.”


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Laughing gas sent paramedic to sleep

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

DARLINGTON, UK – A PARAMEDIC was found snoozing in the back of his rapid response vehicle after inhaling laughing gas, a hearing was told.

A senior manager at Darlington Memorial Hospital spotted paramedic Mark Pollitt snoring in the back seat with a mask connected to a cylinder of Entonox gas propped near his face.

The Health Professions Council hearing yesterday was told that senior operations manager Les Matthias noticed the car in a bay outside the hospital.

Mr Pollitt, who was on duty, had self-administered the gas on February 20, last year, while waiting for an emergency call.

Sophie Lister, for the council, said Mr Matthias noticed the gas cylinder, normally stored in the boot, on the back seat connected to a white tube and mask close to Mr Pollitt’s face.

He took a photo of the snoozing paramedic before eventually having to shout to wake him up.

Miss Lister told the hearing: “He said Mr Pollitt seemed unaware of his surroundings upon waking.”

Once awake, Mr Pollitt tried to hide the mouth piece and tube, she added.

The incident was reported to Douglas McDougal, another manager at the hospital, who began an investigation.

The hearing was told that Mr Pollitt initially denied being asleep and suggested Mr Matthias had been aggressive and used foul and abusive language.

However, once the paramedic, who has been employed by the North-East Ambulance Service NHS Trust since 1994, was shown the photograph, he confessed to using the gas.

Much of the hearing took place in private after Mr Pollitt, who attended with his wife, said he had health issues which needed to be considered.

Mr Pollitt admitted using Entonox without authorisation and said he had done so on previous occasions, but had not used it since the discovery.

Panel chairman Martin Ryder said: “The panel does not doubt the genuineness of Mr Pollitt’s stated intention never to abuse Entonox again, but the fact that the February 2010 incident was not the first on which he had done so, demonstrates that good intentions can sometimes not be realised.”

The panel agreed that Mr Pollitt, who now works for ERS International Group Ltd, was still fit to practice.

However, they imposed strict conditions on how he works for the next 12 months.


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AMR makes changes after widow blames death on late ambulance

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

KITTERY, Maine — The general manager of American Medical Response said changes have been implemented after a Kittery man died while waiting for an ambulance crew that accidentally responded to Eliot instead.

Judy Evancic, widow of Ernie Evancic, said that is all she hoped to accomplish by publicly airing her issues with the emergency services company at Monday’s Town Council meeting.

It took Evancic six weeks to work up the strength to publicly discuss what happened to her husband on Jan. 29. She said Ernie Evancic, 74, fell in the driveway of their home at 48 Goodwin Road, Kittery Point, when he experienced an intercranial hemorrhage.

Their daughter called for AMR, but what should have been a 10-minute ride took 25 minutes because the ambulance instead responded to Goodwin Road in Eliot. Evancic said the initial call was placed at 9:15 a.m., and her husband did not arrive at York Hospital until 10:05. He died later that day, at Massachusetts General Hospital, at 5:53 p.m., she said.

“There was a point just prior to them showing up — he was trying very hard to clear his throat. I tried really hard to remove whatever was in there,” said Evancic, a 67-year-old retired nurse. “Every moment ,you’re running around …; he’s losing precious minutes, and that window of opportunity (to save his life) starts to get smaller and smaller.

“It was a very unfortunate incident,” said Brendan McNiff, general manager of AMR.

McNiff said AMR continues to work with the town on an investigation into every aspect of the call, from the time it reached dispatch to the crew’s response.

He would not say what caused the mishap, noting everything remains under investigation.

AMR has already implemented some changes in the wake of the incident, he said. For instance, ambulances are now equipped with global positioning systems to help responders reach the scene. They are also looking at streamlining the process of handling calls to reduce the probability of human error, he said.

McNiff said, when AMR before a call, the information is bounced around before ultimately arriving at a dispatch center in Newburyport, Mass. The Newburyport station actually dispatches the ambulance, he said.

“If they put (global positioning systems) in there, that’s wonderful. But why didn’t they have them there in the first place?” Evancic asked.

Evancic said she does not intend to sue AMR over her husband’s death. She said she made the incident public because she is concerned about the recent efforts to provide a regional ambulance service to towns in southern Maine.

“I’m not a suing kind of woman. I’m not going to do that,” she said. “The most important thing that’s driving me to be as verbal as I’m being is I want them to fix this, because I think the community deserves it.”

McNiff said this incident has nothing to do with considerations between AMR and York Hospital to develop a regional partnership, and described the possibility as nothing more than a concept up for discussion.

Jud Knox, president of York Hospital, said he had not heard about Evancic’s story, so he could not comment Tuesday afternoon. He described the idea of regional ambulance service as something “on the table” for discussion.

“I’m not trying to force that on anyone or sell it to anyone,” he said. “I think it’s a reasonable idea to put on the table.”

According to AMR’s Web site, the company with national headquarters in Greenwood Village, Colo., serves more communities and customers than any other private ambulance service in the nation. It serves more than 2,100 communities nationwide, with AMR Kittery providing emergency and nonemergency medical transport services to coastal New Hampshire and southern Maine. AMR Kittery employs roughly 40 paramedics and EMTS and handles an average of 5,500 calls annually.

Evancic pointed out that police and firefighters were able to find her home with ease, so her husband received prompt care. However, she believes her husband could have lived if the medicine available on the ambulance has arrived in a timely fashion. Her worry, she said, is that those working for a regional ambulance service would not know the area as well as a local agency — especially when it has a dispatch center located in Massachusetts.

“I had policemen here, firemen here. I had people trying to help. The thing he needed was this ambulance and it wasn’t there,” Evancic said.

Evancic said, she hopes his death will not be in vain.

“I want my husband’s legacy to be that his death created something better. That’s what I’m looking for,” she said. “The system failed my husband that day. It failed him terribly. If you’re going to regionalize this, these kinds of mistakes can’t happen.”


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EMT from Gibsonville injured in Saturday’s ambulance wreck

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

HILLSBOROUGH, NC — The driver of an Orange County ambulance was charged with failure to maintain lane control after he lost control of the vehicle and it overturned on N.C. 86 on Saturday.

The N.C. Highway Patrol charged Junior Cene, 31, of 3529 Day Road, Walkertown. Cene is an emergency medical technician for Orange County Emergency Services.

He, along with a 43-year-old female EMT, from Gibsonville, and a 41-year-old male paramedic from Holly Springs, were taking a 55-year-old man from Hillsborough to UNC Hospitals for a medical condition.

It was a non-emergency transport, and the ambulance was going about 45 mph in a 50 mph zone when Cene ran off the right side of the road just before noon, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.

He overcorrected and swerved back onto the road, veered back and forth another time, and then the ambulance flipped onto the driver’s side and skidded off the road.

Everyone in the ambulance was injured in the wreck and transported to UNC Hospitals for treatment, according to Kim Woodward, EMS operations manager. None of the injuries was life-threatening, although Cene was hospitalized until Tuesday.

Woodward would not give details about the patient’s injuries or condition because of confidentiality laws but said that on Saturday evening after the wreck, the patient was listed in good condition.

Orange County Emergency Management has not finished the investigation and there has been no determination about personnel discipline, Woodward said.

The ambulance, one of the newer vehicles in the fleet, is out of service, but that should not affect day-to-day service, Woodward said. The chassis appears to be destroyed, but the “box” in which patients are transported had only slight damage.

The bigger problem is the temporary loss of the crew.

“We’re always short-staffed, and we’re continually hiring new EMT’s and paramedics, so that hit us pretty hard,” Woodward said.


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1 hurt in ambulance collision on South Side

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

CHICAGO, IL – At least one person was injured this morning when a sport utility vehicle collided with a private ambulance near Washington Park on the South Side.

The crash happened around 10:20 a.m. in the 5100 block of South King Drive, according to Chicago police and fire officials.

Police spokesman Officer John Mirabelli didn’t have additional details, saying responding officers were still gathering information.

One person was taken to Stroger Hospital in serious-to-critical condition, according to a fire department spokesman. Authorities didn’t know which vehicle the injured person was in.


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Man Steals Ambulance, Crashes, Returns To Hospital

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

VANDERBILT, Pa. — A man is facing a number of charges after police said he led officers on a chase in a stolen ambulance in Fayette County.Police told Channel 4 Action News that the ambulance was stolen from Highlands Hospital on East Murphy Avenue in Connellsville just before 10 p.m. Sunday.According to county 911 dispatchers, the man who took the vehicle led police on a short chase in Franklin Township before the ambulance crashed on Route 201 in Vanderbilt.”Actually, I believe he had the lights on, so people were actually getting out of his way. So he pretty much had a free ride there for a while,” said Chief Jim Capitos of the Connellsville police.

Police arrested 50-year-old Michael David Wilson Sr., of Republic, after the crash.”There is a protocol. You don’t leave keys in ambulances unattended and they did. And he decided to leave the hospital and needed a ride,” said Chief Rick Adobato of Fayette EMS.Channel 4 Action News’ Janelle Hall reported that tracking technology allowed authorities to track the suspect.

“We have an automatic vehicle locator. It was unbeknownst to gentleman who decided to take our ambulance. Our ambulances are tracked and so we were able to track him and be in contact with police and within 12 minutes the police had him in custody,” Adobato said.According to police reports, Wilson appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and was transported back to Highlands Hospital for a blood test.Police said the ambulance was fully stocked for advanced life support transport at the time of the theft and is valued at $225,000.The vehicle suffered damage to the front bumper, passenger side mirror and the passenger side of the box shell. The estimated cost of the damage is $2,500.Every time you think you’ve seen everything, you haven’t.” This is the first time I’ve ever seen an ambulance stolen from a hospital,” Capitos said.Wilson is facing charges that include theft of a motor vehicle, DUI and recklessly endangering another person, police said.He is being held in the Fayette County Prison in lieu of bond.


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Honolulu man charged with punching female paramedic

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

HONOLULU, HI – A Keeaumoku area man was arrested for allegedly punching a paramedic who came to his aid Wednesday morning.

Police said two female paramedics were called to assist a man at an apartment complex at 1525 Rycroft St.

When they approached the man in the hallway, he swore at them and punched one of them, 28, in the face. She refused treatment.

The man was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center, where he was found to be intoxicated, but with no other medical condition, police said.

Herlip Nowell, 64, was charged with second-degree assault. Bail was set at $11,000.


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Life Mobile flips over in wreck at dangerous Trenton-Ewing crossing

Posted on 21 March 2011 by wyoskibum

EWING, NJ — Police, fire and rescue teams from the township and from Trenton responded to a report of a local Lifemobile that had flipped over during a wreck last night at what’s historically been a dangerous intersection.

The crash occurred right around 6 p.m. at the intersection of Parkside and Parkway avenues. The Lifemobile flipped onto its side in the crash, though no one was reported to be seriously injured in the wreck.

Initial reports across emergency radio said that three people were taken to area hospitals for evaluation and/or treatment of minor injuries.


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