D.C. Fire/EMS Crew Disciplined Over Failure to Transport Woman to Hospital

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- DC Fire & EMS Department officials confirm an EMS crew has been disciplined for failing to take a woman with trouble breathing to the hospital after she called 911 on December 22. Kimberly Kelsey of the 900 block of Rhode Island Avenue, NW was transported to a hospital only after she called 911 a second time, about 56 minutes after her first call.

According to Kelsey, crews from a paramedic engine company and an ambulance refused to take her to the hospital because they determined she was not symptomatic.

On the second response, a paramedic supervisor treated Kelsey for her chronic asthma and accompanied the woman to Georgetown University Hospital. Kelsey says she was put into the intensive care unit and spent a week at the hospital.

Department spokesman Pete Piringer confirms that supervisor immediately followed up on Kimberly Kelsey's complaint. According to Piringer, the supervisor counseled the crew and disciplinary action was taken.

Piringer also confirms there was no patient care report filled out on the initial response.

This incident has parallels to the case of 2-year-old Stephanie Stephens who died on February 11, at Children's National Medical Center. An investigation is still underway into why a medic crew did not transport Stephens to a hospital after her mother's first call to 911 a day earlier. It was about nine hours later that a second call to 911 resulted in the little girl being taken to the hospital by paramedics.

The call to the little girl's apartment occurred in the middle of the second of back-to-back blizzards in Washington. Stephens' family said the girl died of pneumonia.

A paramedic and EMT have been removed from field operations while the probe continues. Numerous sources confirm, like the December case, the EMS crew failed to fill out a patient care report or get a signed release from the girl's mother.

Statter911.com has been provided internal department emails showing regular notifications to supervisors about missing electronic patient care reports. The emails from January and November each show at least 30 missing reports. The department has not been able to tell us the percentage of reports that are missing because of technical issues versus those that first responders failed to submit.

Republished with permission of WUSA-TV.