DC fire engine rushes baby to hospital during emergency

- For the second time in a week, D.C. Fire and EMS paramedics had to take an infant to Children’s Hospital after an ambulance wasn’t immediately available.

The latest incident was Monday night in Northeast D.C. when a mother called 911 to say her 1-month-old was unconscious and in distress. Unlike last week's incident, this baby survived and is now doing fine. The call to 911 came in at 5:23 Monday night with Engine 10, Truck 17, an EMS supervisor and Ambulance 27 dispatched to an apartment on Hunt Place.

The truck arrived first and began CPR on the baby. Engine 10, with a paramedic on board, traveled more than three miles from its station on Florida Avenue to get to the scene.

According to the baby’s mother and sources familiar with the investigation, the mother began CPR after noticing foam coming from the infant’s mouth.

When Engine 10 and the EMS supervisor arrived, they were told Ambulance 27, which was not advanced life support, was still several minutes away and they made the decision to transport on the engine.

The mother, who declined to go on camera, said she rode to the hospital on one truck while her baby went on another. She praised the work of the firefighters who responded to the call. 

D.C. Fire Chief Gregory Dean is in Seattle and talked to FOX 5 by phone about the incident.

“There were some challenges for the responding units. Normally, we’d like to transport the patient in an ambulance,” said Chief Dean. “They made a decision based on the logistics of the ambulance that they thought it made more sense to transport the patient in the vehicle they came in.”

Chief Dean said the city is struggling to keep up with more than 500 calls a day and vehicle maintenance is causing lots of trouble. He said an additional 14 ambulances are coming next month. 

D.C. Fire and EMS officials have said they are trying to keep 49 ambulances on the street during peak hours.
 

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