EXCLUSIVE: Delay in getting paramedic to dying DC man

- There are new details about yet another delay in getting critical help to a man having a heart attack in the District. Ten minutes went by before a dispatcher realized paramedics had not been put on the call, and the man later died.

Early last Sunday morning, D.C. police officers found a man on the street unconscious and not breathing. They radioed for help, telling dispatchers at the 911 center they were beginning CPR. Help was then sent, but it was not what the cops were expecting.

The police report says the officers were flagged down at approximately 7 minutes after midnight and began giving the man first aid.

At the 911 center, dispatchers put help on the call. Ambulance 27 turned on its emergency equipment and headed for the scene, a trip that took them approximately 10 minutes.

According to a D.C. police report, officers found the man unconscious and not breathing in front of the Sixth District Substation on Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast D.C. The report says the officers deployed a defibrillator and began CPR, but for whatever reason, the 911 dispatch center only sent a basic life support ambulance.

This is what Ambulance 27 said to the dispatch center when they pulled up on the scene.

Ambulance driver: "Ambulance 27 to Communications, can you dispatch an EMS supervisor? ALS -- ALS provider, we have CPR in progress.”

Dispatcher: “I copy Ambulance 27, CPR in progress.”

ALS stands for advanced life support, and a paramedic was then put on the call.

Dispatcher: “Medical local paramedic 8 and EMS 3 respond at the request of Ambulance 27 on the scene with CPR in progress.”

According to Karima Holmes, director of the Office of Unified Communications, personnel at the 911 center knew CPR was in progress, but the dispatcher had not refreshed her computer and was unaware that advanced life support was needed until Ambulance 27 arrived on the scene.

Holmes says the initial call for help was to assist D.C. police with a man down and lacked the trigger word that CPR was in progress.

The patient, identified as 67-year-old Lawrence Brown, was taken to the United Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

FOX 5 has so far been unable to reach his family.


 

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