Archive | January, 2012

NC ambulance driver cited for running red light while transporting patient

Posted on 29 January 2012 by wyoskibum

БогородицаWILMINGTON, N.C. — An ambulance driver in Sampson County has been cited for driving through a red light while transporting a patient.

According to WECT in Wilmington, the driver of the ambulance, Don Comer ran a red light in downtown Wilmington. Comer says he thinks the ticket should not be his responsibility.

Don Bennet, traffic engineer for the City of Wilmington, says their protocol for emergency vehicles is to send the video and images they record to the driver’s supervisor.

In this case, the supervisor of the Sampson County Emergency Management decided Comer was in violation of proper procedure because the emergency lights were not turned on, so he told the City to send the ticket to Comer’s house.

Comer has worked for emergency management for over 30 years and says he’s surprised that he has to pay the fine himself.

“I was shocked. I have seen other situations happen far worse than this and nothing was ever done because it was always the interims in the departments talking and the whole ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,’” said Comer.

WECT reached out to Comer’s supervisor for comment, but he has yet to return their call.

Comer has an option to appeal the ticket, but he says he will pay it sometime this week


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Stolen ambulance, frozen foods, arrest in El Paso

Posted on 29 January 2012 by wyoskibum

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A West Texas man accused of swiping an ambulance, driving to a grocery store and stealing frozen foods has landed in a different kind of cooler.

El Paso police on Tuesday announced the arrest and jailing of John Valdivia of El Paso on theft charges. Bond has been set at nearly $10,200.

An ambulance was stolen Monday night from the emergency parking area of Del Sol Medical Center. Police say the vehicle was taken while waiting to transport a patient.

Police say Valdivia allegedly drove to a market and tried to slip out with some frozen foods. He was followed by grocery store personnel into the parking lot and police were alerted.

Police had no information Tuesday on an attorney for Valdivia. Details on the frozen items weren’t immediately released.


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Ambulance crashes in north St. Louis on way to call

Posted on 29 January 2012 by wyoskibum

St. Louis, MO — An ambulance in north St. Louis on a way to a call was unable to make it after it collided with a pick-up truck.

The ambulance was heading east on Ridge Avenue with its lights and sirens on when it tried to cross over at Union Avenue.  A pick-up truck heading southbound on Union, failed to yield and struck the ambulance.

The driver of the pick-up truck had minor injuries and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

The ambulance was responding to a call one block away.  A second ambulance was dispatched to that scene.


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Carbon monoxide monitor carried by Jersey City EMS may have saved lives

Posted on 29 January 2012 by wyoskibum

JERSEY CITY, NJ – Carbon monoxide monitors may have saved at least one life at a Jersey City warehouse earlier this month.

On Jan. 11 at 4:45 p.m., Jersey City Medical Center EMS paramedics responded to Continental Terminals, a coffee warehouse at 115 Port Jersey Blvd., when a person complained of nausea, vomiting and headache symptoms often associated with the flu.

As they entered the building, however, their carbon monoxide monitors went off.

“This was the first time it ever went off,” said 29-year-old paramedic Rob Kippel, whose medic bag was equipped with one of the devices. “At first I didn’t know what it was. When I put down the bag, I was trying to find out what was beeping. Everyone was checking their phones.”

He then realized it was the monitor. “I looked at the number on the alarm and it was flashing. It was very high 114 (parts per million, or ppm).

“We notified the fire department, who was already on the scene, and told everyone in the room ‘We have to get out of here,’ ” said Kippel.

Indoors, a normal carbon monoxide level is about 15 ppm, Jersey City Medical Center EMS Director Jim Dwyer said. In New Jersey, a reading over 35 ppm is unacceptable. At 114 ppm, he added, prolonged exposure could be fatal.

The sick warehouse worker, a man Kippel said was in his late 30s, was taken outside for oxygen.

“He started to feel a little bit better,” said Kippel. “He was there in the early morning. By the time we got to him, which was late afternoon, he said he was feeling very dizzy, he couldn’t stand and he had a headache.”

The man was taken to the JCMC, where he was treated and released, officials said, adding that the monitors helped make sure the man was properly treated.

Paramedics started carrying the devices after the deaths of Rosaria Ferreras-Matos, 24, in April, and Arthur Galloway, 48, in March. They were both residents at a Baldwin Avenue apartment that had high levels of the odorless, but deadly gas, Dwyer said.

Each crew has at least one monitor and there can be up to 20 units out in the field during peak hours, Dwyer said. Each unit costs $175.

“If we didn’t have (the monitors), there would’ve been no way we could’ve known that situation was present,” Kippel said about the warehouse incident. “We would’ve stayed on the scene a lot longer, being exposed. I’m glad we were alerted.”


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Mass. Paramedic Arraigned on Additional Drug Charge

Posted on 22 January 2012 by wyoskibum

БогородицаLOWELL, Mass. — A uniformed off-duty paramedic charged last December with drunken driving is facing an additional charge of possession of heroin that was allegedly found in his car.

Evan P. Kilbride, 32, of 127 Beacon St., Lowell, was in Lowell District Court yesterday for a pretrial conference on charges of driving under the influence of drugs, operating to endanger, marked-lanes violations, and unlawful possession of a Cambridge police badge found in his glove compartment.

He was also arraigned on a new charge of possession of a Class A drug, which is related to the drunken-driving case, according to prosecutors.

Kilbride is free on personal recognizance on both cases. He is scheduled to return to court March 8.

Kilbride has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation, according to officials at Trinity EMS.

According to Dracut police, a driver called police at about 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 26 to report a driver who appeared to be sleeping in a stopped car in traffic on the Textile Memorial Bridge, according to reports.

The caller followed Kilbride as he woke up and continued to drive, allegedly serving off the road at 1269 Lakeview Ave. and into a parking lot, where he narrowly missed a utility pole, according to court records.

Kilbride was still wearing his Trinity paramedics uniform when police stopped his 1995 Toyota Corolla in a parking lot in front of 51 Frederick St.

In Kilbride’s car, police allegedly found a variety of pills — some with a prescription in his name and some without — a plastic bag that appeared to contain a “white powder” drug, and drug paraphernalia associated with heroin use, including syringes, cotton swabs and a rubber strip to “tie off” a drug user’s arm, according to police reports.

Police arrested him shortly after but declined to give him a sobriety test for safety reasons because he was too unsteady on his feet, according to police reports.
Kilbride Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.


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Ambulance company to pay for ex-worker’s surgery

Posted on 22 January 2012 by wyoskibum

DANBURY, Conn. — A former emergency medical technician who says he contracted hepatitis C on the job will receive a liver transplant and post-operative care paid for in a settlement with Danbury Ambulance and its insurance carrier.

The News Times of Danbury reports that Joe Tomaso fought for workers’ compensation benefits and medical care for more than a decade. He said he contracted hepatitis C during a routine call in 1998.

The state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission has approved the agreement with the 48-year-old Tomaso for a liver transplant and care that could cost more than $1 million.

Jason Dodge, a lawyer for the ambulance company, declined to comment to the newspaper.

Don Lundy, president-elect of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, says it’s rare for a company to pay for a transplant and post-surgical care.


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State regulators look into ambulance allegations

Posted on 22 January 2012 by wyoskibum

AUGUSTA, Maine — The woman whose husband died after a skiing accident at Sugarloaf on Thursday is telling a shocking story about the care he received from the ambulance who came to pick him up.

This weekend Dana Morse told the Chronicle Herald of Nova Scotia that her experience was “a comedy of horrors.”

The allegations are troubling and they’ve caught the attention of state regulators who oversee emergency medical personnel.

The head of Maine EMS is cautioning that before we jump to any conclusions — we need to hear both sides of the story.

“This is something we’re very concerned about, as is the service chief, as is the hospital. There are some very concerning statements that were made and everybody wants to get the full understanding of what happened here”, said EMS Director Jay Bradshaw.

Maine EMS, a division of the Department of Public Safety, establishes the training, testing and protocols for emergency medical crews. It also investigates complaints against providers of ambulance services.

Bradshaw says the allegations are very much out of character for Northstar ambulance, which he calls very experienced in remote sections of the state.


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Four Madison Co. Crashes Along Slick Interstate

Posted on 15 January 2012 by wyoskibum

LEXINGTON, KY – Snow created some havoc along a stretch of I-75 in southern Madison County Thursday evening. There were four accidents within miles of each other, one involving an ambulance.

Two semis jackknifed just a few miles apart, an ambulance flipped and a police cruiser crashed responding to the scene.

Witnesses say a Bell County ambulance lost control and rolled several times.

“The woman was still in her seat, and the man was in the driver’s seat, of course, and they had been tussled around. Everything in there was in complete disarray; just everything was out of place in there,” Robby Stokes said.

Officials say the husband and wife EMS workers were taken to UK Hospital. There was no word on their conditions.

A Berea police officer heading toward the crash scene was reportedly forced off the road by a truck, taking the cruiser out of service.


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Controversial EMS Bill Vetoed by Christie

Posted on 15 January 2012 by wyoskibum

NEW JERSEY – Proposed legislation that pitted professional emergency medical service (EMS) units against volunteer ones was passed by the state legislature but conditionally vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie on January 9. At stake was whether volunteer EMS units could handle the burdens of new regulation and who would pay for the $1.4 million of new initiatives in the bill.

The bill, known familiarly as the EMS redesign bill, would have enacted stricter requirements on volunteer units like the one in Glen Ridge, and members of that ambulance squad were steadfastly opposed to the bill. The Montclair Ambulance Unit supported it.

“While this legislation is well-intentioned and suggests several potential changes that seek to create a more coherent regulatory structure for the State’s EMS system,” Christie wrote in his veto message, “I am advised that implementation of the requirements and commitments provided for in the bill would cost the State and municipalities across the State millions of dollars.”

The bill, passed in the Assembly this past February as A-2095 and passed by the Senate on December 17 as S-818, would have set a uniform standard for all EMS units, both volunteer and professional. It would have, among other things, mandated global positioning systems in every EMS ambulance, required the licensing of emergency medical technicians (rather than certifying them), required background checks for all emergency medical technicians, and had all technicians and paramedics in the state licensed under the auspices of the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) rather than a board of peers established under the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Most of the expenditures in the bill that Christie cited would come in the form of unfunded mandates.

The Montclair Ambulance Unit, a professional EMS unit, supported the original bill as a method of creating a uniform standard of care for patients and increasing efficiency in EMS operations. “What needs to be asked is, will this bill be a benefit to the patient?” said Frank Carlo the Montclair Ambulance Unit’s deputy chief. Carlo believes it would, as he opines that it would set high patient care standards that “will level the playing field for EMS agencies across the state, creating a uniform standard for all.”

Carlo cited similar EMS unit reform that passed in Pennsylvania in the 1980s, which he says has allowed both volunteer and professional EMS units to perform exceptionally, with uniform standards across the board and a higher standard of care.

Chris Landers, captain of the Glen Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Squad, would beg to differ. As both a volunteer in Glen Ridge and a professional EMT in Bloomfield, he sees no benefit to adding more regulations and red tape to meet the standards the bill would set for volunteer units. ”It doesn’t seem like it’s improving anything, it’s just changing it,” Landers said of the bill. ”I don’t see how it makes the system better, it just adds more paperwork.” He also noted that such reforms would be too costly for local governments to implement, adding that the bill left unaddressed whether additional costs would be forced on towns like Glen Ridge or absorbed by the counties or the state.

The New Jersey First Aid Council, which represents volunteer EMS squads, was flatly opposed to this bill because of that very question, concurring with the opinion that it would have placed a cost burden on local governments. Despite exemptions for volunteer units included in the bill, said Ed Burdzy, the New Jersey First Aid Council’s executive director, someone would still have to pay for the services the bill would have mandated. ”There’s no idea how to pay for it,” Burdzy said.

Burdzy cited as an example the proposed mandate for installing GPS units in each ambulance in the state EMS fleet—up to $600 per vehicle, with a total projected cost of $660,000 for 1100 ambulances. He noted that the tab does not include the costs of upgrading the computers that would serve the GPS units.

The chief provisions in the bill that have been controversial are a uniform system of background checks by state police and the requirement to license EMTs as opposed to merely certifying them. Carlo sees the background checking as common sense for re-assuring patients and families. ”I think it would be comforting,” Carlo said, “to know that when [people] call 911 at a point that may be the worst time of their life, the person coming into their home at 3:00 a.m. is not a convicted criminal and has a certain  level of training.”

Landers agrees with the need for background checks, pointing out that Glen Ridge has its own background check system; all applicants for EMS volunteer work are routinely screened and cleared by local police. He doesn’t understand why any EMS unit would not run such checks on its own—though he concedes that a regulation requiring centralized, state police-conducted EMT background checks might be a good thing, especially if it in fact is the case that not every volunteer EMS unit performs such checks. For its part, the New Jersey First Aid Council has said it can support such a proposal, so long as it doesn’t cost EMT volunteers and allows EMT training for applicants awaiting background check results.

The dispute between certification and licensing comes down to more than a case of semantics. Carlo has noted that certification is used by non-governmental organizations to give approval to members who operate to the standards of the NGOs to which they belong and to give the public assurance that they have successfully met those standards. ”Licensure, on the other hand, is the state’s grant of legal authority, pursuant to the state’s police powers, to practice a profession within a designated scope of practice,” Carlo explains.

While the use of licensing is meant to provide a higher standard, the proposal has sparked a disagreement from volunteers, many of whom find the proposed requirements exclusionary. Landers says that many EMS volunteers would be unable to complete the necessary training in a timely matter owing to commitments to their day jobs, while professional EMTs would have an obvious advantage to get licensed as part of their jobs. There’s also the potential inconvenience to consider. “If they’re going to have everybody licensed,” says Landers, “what’s the timetable for being licensed? If you have to get licensed, do you have to go to Newark or Trenton, or can you get licensed online?” Landers expressed frustration at the idea of possibly trying to find time to go to classes or sessions licensing when day jobs would restrict volunteer EMTs to nights and weekends. He added that EMTs already take classes repeatedly to keep their skills sharp.

The New Jersey First Aid Council, which represents 325 volunteer agencies throughout the state, sees other problems. In addition to the cost of licensing fee that the volunteer EMT would have to pay, the First Aid Council sees no added benefits in terms of training or expertise. Director Burdzy has also stated that he would prefer to see licensed EMTs regulated by the state Division of Consumer Affairs, as medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are, and the council is not happy the idea of EMTs being licensed under the auspices of the DHSS.

The council has noted that the DHSS has consistently refused to support or expeditiously investigate new lifesaving procedures, such as defibrillators, which were delayed till the early 1990s after the DHSS opposed implementing in the late 1980s, and epi-pens, which the council said was delayed by the DHSS for almost four years because of their inability to finalize epi-pen regulations.

Ultimately, money is still the primary concern. Burdzy notes that less affluent communities without professional EMS units would be at a disadvantage, with the costs hampering volunteer units’ ability to answer 911 calls.  And one distinction between professional and volunteer ambulance units is that volunteer units don’t charge for services. Landers worries that any new regulations would, by increasing costs on volunteer units, have a negative impact on such units to respond. The Glen Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Squad, which relies on residents’ donations, has come to the aid of not only Glen Ridge residents but has responded to calls in neighboring towns, including two calls in Orange to cover for ambulance units engaged with other calls.

The Montclair Ambulance Unit’s Carlo continues to stress that the fees would be waived as an extension of current regulations that exempt municipal agencies.  “They don’t see that in the bill because it you can’t amend a regulation until the legislation is passed,” Carlo said of the bill’s detractors.

Having now vetoed the EMS bill, the governor has recommended that Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary O’Dowd examine the impact of changes to EMS standards, such as uniform background checks and licensure versus certification, and make recommendations for new legislation in six months.

Meanwhile, State Senator Joseph Vitale, a Middlesex County Democrat and the new chairman of the state Senate’s health committee, has let the bill expire rather than try for an override.  Instead, Vitale hopes to “retool” it into a new version for the legislature to consider. The only given is that a new bill will look different from the old one. Both sides will be watching to see how different it will be.


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Massachusetts Officials Review Data to Resolve ALS Feud Among Ambulance Companies

Posted on 15 January 2012 by wyoskibum

LOWELL, MA – Health officials and paramedics are combing through emergency response calls and medical data to settle a dispute between the city’s two ambulance companies.

Feuding paramedics last month didn’t agree over the way the city’s contracted ambulance provider, Trinity EMS, has been managing Advanced Life Support Services (ALS). Dr. Ryan Searle, who oversees ALS at Saints Medical Center expressed concern over what he called “competing ambulances,” including ambulances trying to outrace each other to a scene, would be detrimental to patients.

Searle said adding extra paramedics in Lowell, without any increase in population, lessens the number of critical care patients the emergency responder sees. That, he added, has adverse effects on skills and competency.

But the Board of Health was outraged over the assumption that the city added more paramedics. Trinity Ambulance is the sole contract holder, and subcontracts ALS assistance from Saints.

It was Saint’s GLEMS (Greater Lowell Emergency Medical Services) that seemed to have put more vehicles on the road, said board member Bill Gavin.

To help the contract holder and subcontract holder improve communication, health officials tasked Trinity with forming a subcommittee meeting to find benchmarks and hammer out an agreement based on real numbers.

Tuesday, the two ambulance providers seemed to be working well together and in agreement over benchmarks, including response times, transport times, number of paramedics on duty per shift and life-saving medical procedures, according to Joanne Keegan, chair of the board.

By April, both companies plan to have reports based on real numbers from calls, transports, procedures and success rates.

“The board’s job is to look at benchmarks,” Keegan said. “The subcommittee was meant to help keep continued dialogue open between the two companies to continue the best service for city residents.”


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Gilmer paramedic arrested on drug charge

Posted on 15 January 2012 by wyoskibum

GLENVILLE, WV- A Lewis County man working as a paramedic in Gilmer County is free on bond after his arrest on a drug charge.

Jeffrey L. Chapman, 47, of Weston, was working as a paramedic for Gilmer County Emergency Services when he was arrested and charged with the felony of obtaining a controlled substance, morphine, by deception or subterfuge.

Chapman was arrested in Lewis County on a warrant from Gilmer County. A spokeswoman for Lewis County Magistrate Sharon Hull said Chapman was arrested and appeared in court on Jan. 7. He was released on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond.

Chapman’s arrest came after an investigation by West Virginia State Police Trooper First Class F.L. Raynor of the Gilmer County Detachment. Raynor’s investigation began after two prefilled syringes filled with two milligrams of morphine were missing from a Gilmer EMS drug locker on Dec. 1, 2011, officials said.

Two days after the syringes were missing, Chapman tested positive for opiates, according to the criminal complaint.

Chapman was accused of a similar offense in Lewis County but wasn’t charged because he attended a rehabilitation program, officials said. Under West Virginia law, the maximum penalty if convicted is up to four years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.

Gilmer County Magistrate Carol Wolfe said Chapman’s preliminary hearing is tentatively set for Jan. 30. She said there is no attorney of record in this case and Chapman indicated he was going to hire an attorney.


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EMS Medic Seriously Injured in Clawson Street Ambulance Crash

Posted on 15 January 2012 by wyoskibum

STATEN ISLAND, NY — An EMS medic was seriously injured during an ambulance crash in Oakwood Heights Wednedsay afternoon, authorities said.

The smash-up unfolded on Clawson Street and Princeton Avenue just before 12:45 p.m., the FDNY said.

Sources said the FDNY ambulance, which was not moving at the time of the accident, was struck by another vehicle.

The medic was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital South Campus in serious condition.

It was not immediately clear if there was criminality involved in the crash or how it occurred.


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Woman accused of assaulting officer, paramedic

Posted on 15 January 2012 by wyoskibum

WILTON, ME — A 33-year-old woman faces multiple charges after being accused of assaulting a police officer and a paramedic who responded to a domestic disturbance Sunday afternoon, Wilton police Chief Heidi Wilcox said.

The woman, Kelly Hall, of Wilton, initially was arrested by police on domestic-violence charges in connection with the disturbance reported just before 1 p.m., Wilcox said.

A NorthStar ambulance service paramedic arrived at the scene and was assaulted by Hall, Wilcox said. The paramedic suffered minor injuries in the attack, Wilcox said, declining to give additional details.

While Hall was taken to jail in a police cruiser, she kicked out a window and broke the door frame. Hall then kicked a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy who tried to stop her from jumping out of the vehicle, Wilcox said.

The deputy, who had been assisting the Wilton town police officer making the arrest, suffered minor injuries, Wilcox said.

Police took Hall to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, where she was treated and released to police custody, Wilcox said.

She was charged with assault on an officer, assault on an emergency medical technician, refusing to submit to arrest, criminal mischief and three counts of domestic-violence assault, Wilcox said.

Hall was being held on $300 cash bail Monday afternoon at Franklin County Detention Center in Farmington, a jail official said. The official did not know the date of Hall’s scheduled court appearance.

The police cruiser, owned by the town, is out of service. Wilcox said she planned to get an estimate Monday afternoon of the cost to repair the damage.


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Ambulance roll-over crash in West Central Fresno

Posted on 15 January 2012 by wyoskibum

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — An ambulance driver ended up needing help after a roll-over crash in West Central Fresno.

The accident happened around 11 o’clock Saturday night near Clinton and Marks.

Fresno police briefly closed part of the intersection while crews flipped the ambulance back onto its wheels. A tow truck then took it away.

No word yet on whether anyone was hurt in the crash.


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