mad dies after calling 911 10 times

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http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10048/1036403-53.stm
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Ambulances were dispatched three times on Saturday, Feb. 6, to the couple's home in the 5100 block of narrow Chaplain Way, but couldn't get there because of the snow. Paramedics twice asked whether Mr. Mitchell could walk to an intersection, even after he told them that he could not because he was in too much pain.
Emergency vehicles were within blocks of his home three times -- once so close Ms. Edge could see the ambulance lights from her porch -- but did not make contact with him. They finally reached the home on Sunday morning, Feb. 7, but Mr. Mitchell was already dead.
So they responded several times to the house and got close enough to see the house but no EMT/Medic thought it was a godd idea to get out and actually assess the patient and see if his actual condition.
 

rescue99

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http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10048/1036403-53.stm
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Ambulances were dispatched three times on Saturday, Feb. 6, to the couple's home in the 5100 block of narrow Chaplain Way, but couldn't get there because of the snow. Paramedics twice asked whether Mr. Mitchell could walk to an intersection, even after he told them that he could not because he was in too much pain.
Emergency vehicles were within blocks of his home three times -- once so close Ms. Edge could see the ambulance lights from her porch -- but did not make contact with him. They finally reached the home on Sunday morning, Feb. 7, but Mr. Mitchell was already dead.
So they responded several times to the house and got close enough to see the house but no EMT/Medic thought it was a godd idea to get out and actually assess the patient and see if his actual condition.


There is no excuse for this sort of incident to ever happen. Why the heck was fire not called given the significance of wheather conditions? Oh yeah, it wasn't in their job description to help. I guess there were no friends or family avilable either...ugh!

Dispatch should be fired..each and every one of those who failed to do his or her job. The Doc..what was he thinking several 911 calls later?? Shame on him for not making it a priority. Not to mention, somebody with a pair of sissors should be searching out some responders looking for their licenses'. Ghads, how sad.
 

281mustang

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That's pathetic. It would be one thing if the house was a few miles beyond the road, but the fact that they would rather pack up and call it a day as opposed to getting off their asses to walk a couple hundred yards is mind-numbing.
 
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medic417

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Cool "mad" died. Maybe the world will be more peaceful now.:rolleyes:

Lets not judge the crews as we do not have all details.
 

nomofica

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Cool "mad" died. Maybe the world will be more peaceful now.:rolleyes:

Lets not judge the crews as we do not have all details.

How's this for enough details:

"If he wants a ride to the hospital, he is just going to have to come down to the truck," a medic told the dispatcher

This is completely inexcusable. It is clear that THIS medic (THIS medic, not the others) was clearly too lazy to do his/her job. Since when was "okay, you call us to come help you BUT you have to walk over to us" in ANY SOP? Hell, they could have requested help from the fire department if they didn't feel they could help the patient to get to the ambulance on their own.

This is obvious negligence on the part of the entire responding service. 10 911 calls over three days and 3 instances of being in visual of the property... Is there really any excuse you can think of that would justify what took place? Especially considering one crew DID make it to the house, when unfortunately it was too late to do much for the guy...
 

nomofica

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Also, this strikes a nerve as well:
Ms. Edge called again to tell dispatchers that her boyfriend took sleeping and pain pills and she "could not get him up."

A doctor who called Ms. Edge back was "convinced he took his prescribed medications and went to sleep," Dr. Roth said, and the call was canceled.

A doctor assuming a patient's condition without even assessing the patient and being "convinced [the patient] took his prescribed medications and went to sleep" after the 911 call indicated a possible overdose of pain killers and sleeping pills...? This doctor should lose his/her licence.



I know first hand that the system isn't perfect, but this was an all-around inexcusable failure to the Nth degree. I hope legal action is taken against the EMS department, the medics who didn't do their jobs (especially the one saying the patient should go to them and not the other way around), and this doctor.

 

DrParasite

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lets read the entire article first, shall we?

Hazelwood man dies after 10 calls to 911 over two days
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
By Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In his first call to 911, Curtis Mitchell sounded calm, explaining to dispatchers that his "entire stomach [was] in pain."

By the time his longtime girlfriend made a 10th call nearly 30 hours later, she was frantic. He wasn't breathing. He was cold to the touch.
Read more: http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10048/1036403-53.stm#ixzz0fpeIsehx
 
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DrParasite

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and....

**Post removed**
 
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trevor1189

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Definitely sounds like an abandonment issue. It would be one thing if he died while they were trying to gain access, but just leaving....
 

medic417

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How's this for enough details:



This is completely inexcusable. It is clear that THIS medic (THIS medic, not the others) was clearly too lazy to do his/her job. Since when was "okay, you call us to come help you BUT you have to walk over to us" in ANY SOP? Hell, they could have requested help from the fire department if they didn't feel they could help the patient to get to the ambulance on their own.

This is obvious negligence on the part of the entire responding service. 10 911 calls over three days and 3 instances of being in visual of the property... Is there really any excuse you can think of that would justify what took place? Especially considering one crew DID make it to the house, when unfortunately it was too late to do much for the guy...

How? Are they properly equipped by the service to be hiking in snow and ice? Are you sure that was actually said? Have you ever heard of "is the scene safe"?

Don't judge as you may not have all the facts.
 

LucidResq

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It's hard not to judge...

Out here in CO our SAR team has been called on multiple occasions to assist EMS/fire in blizzard conditions when the ambulances had trouble getting around.

We have carried patients, on foot, to the hospital with a Stokes litter or Thompson litter.

None of us know the situation, but I find it hard to believe that anyone was really trying their hardest. I would get Fire out there shoveling, if necessary to access the patient, and call around to find a litter if necessary to get them out. I find it hard to believe that no agencies in the area had shovels or litters.
 

PotatoMedic

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Why the heck was fire not called given the significance of wheather conditions? Oh yeah, it wasn't in their job description....
People here should be happy the FD was never called. It was a medical emergency so only people trained only in EMS should be sent. Except for cardiac arrest because firefighters are smart enough to press things.

How? Are they properly equipped by the service to be hiking in snow and ice? Are you sure that was actually said? Have you ever heard of "is the scene safe"?

Don't judge as you may not have all the facts.
No we don't have all the facts. And they probably are not equipped to hike in the snow. But if you find that there is something blocking your way the the Pt do you just say 'ahh sh*t' and go home. No. You call PD to secure the scene if needed. Call FD if the house is on fire (unless you are FD). Heck I bet they could have had dispatch call the DOT to have them send a plow. But you don't just flat out abandon a Pt. I am not saying that they were not justified in only go as far as they did. But they should have solved the problem instead of saying ahh sh*t. Oh well.


I really like this quote from the article. "The call was canceled after paramedics learned that Mr. Mitchell was in too much pain to walk out to them."


Note: Let the picking apart of my post begin since I said something against the EMS only movement.
 

Veneficus

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Note: Let the picking apart of my post begin since I said something against the EMS only movement.

While I disagree that the FD should be involved in medical care, I don't think that has anything to do with this particular story or relevant for discussion in this thread.

Any responder, medical or otherwise, should understand that when there is entrapment involved (like in this case caused by snow) The victim must first be accessed before medical care can be rendered.

Main Entry: res·cue
Pronunciation: \ˈres-(ˌ)kyü\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): res·cued; res·cu·ing
Etymology: Middle English rescouen, rescuen, from Anglo-French rescure, from re- + escure to shake off, from Latin excutere, from ex- + quatere to shake
Date: 14th century
: to free from confinement, danger, or evil : save, deliver: as a : to take (as a prisoner) forcibly from custody b : to recover (as a prize) by force c : to deliver (as a place under siege) by armed force

It should be considered that no priority dispatch system is perfect, people will always fall through the cracks.

As for who is responsible in this particular case, I'd be willing to bet it is settled.

It seems the take away message from this particular story is: If you need emergency medical treatment, you have to use the magic words:

"I am having difficulty breathing and chest pain."

You can sort out the situation after the responders get to your side.
 

PotatoMedic

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While I disagree that the FD should be involved in medical care, I don't think that has anything to do with this particular story or relevant for discussion in this thread.

On the contrary. If this happened and it was a FD that was responding you guys would be allover the fact it was a FD. (but I will admit that is speculation on my part... but it has good standing with the track record of this forum).


Any responder, medical or otherwise, should understand that when there is entrapment involved (like in this case caused by snow) The victim must first be accessed before medical care can be rendered.
I agree! And what was the problem... the roads had too much snow. So call the DOT for a plow. Heck break out the shovels and start digging if you feel you must. The FD is no more qualified to shovel snow that anyone else so why do they (in your opinion from what I am inferring) get the special job of shoveling snow?

Main Entry: res·cue
Pronunciation: \ˈres-(ˌ)kyü\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): res·cued; res·cu·ing
Etymology: Middle English rescouen, rescuen, from Anglo-French rescure, from re- + escure to shake off, from Latin excutere, from ex- + quatere to shake
Date: 14th century
: to free from confinement, danger, or evil : save, deliver: as a : to take (as a prisoner) forcibly from custody b : to recover (as a prize) by force c : to deliver (as a place under siege) by armed force
Not sure what this is about... maybe something towards FD's. To rescue the Pt call a plow and while your waiting read a book. Start walking if you want to get to them sooner. But abandoning them is not an option.

It should be considered that no priority dispatch system is perfect, people will always fall through the cracks.

As for who is responsible in this particular case, I'd be willing to bet it is settled.

It seems the take away message from this particular story is: If you need emergency medical treatment, you have to use the magic words:

"I am having difficulty breathing and chest pain."

You can sort out the situation after the responders get to your side.


I agree. Nothing is perfect.
 

WolfmanHarris

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All I can think of when I read this is about a call I did during the fall.
Lady thrown from a horse while trail riding. We arrived on the farm and were directed to follow an SUV towards the back paddocks. Upon reaching a fence line we determined that any further and the truck would be in danger of getting stuck. So we grabbed a long-board and our bags and hopped into the bystander's SUV riding that to the next fence line. Where the driver said this was as far as his car would go. We then humped it another 600m to make pt. contact.

Ended up extricating her with the LSB in a stokes, tied into the back of FD's pick-up truck and a slow easy drive out.

What's the moral of this story? Never considered before this that someone would have said "Not in my job description!" And left a patient alone. Yes, I wasn't there, but it stands to reason that we're still talking snow and ice here, not confined space, high angle, or any sort of truly unsafe scene.
 

Veneficus

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On the contrary. If this happened and it was a FD that was responding you guys would be allover the fact it was a FD. (but I will admit that is speculation on my part... but it has good standing with the track record of this forum).

Honestly, I can't think of 1 FD I have ever encountered, volunteer or otherwise, that would leave a trapped victim because of percieved inability to reach them short of a major disaster, which I doubt snow in Pittsburg is, having spent many winters there with family and freinds, I don't see anyway to defend such behavior. It was extremely poor judgement.

My argument with fire based EMS is a bit more logical and nuanced than just shaking my fist in the air. As a former firefighter, if a large percentage of FDs in the US would admit to their shortcomings and address them, I would support them with all my ability. Sadly many don't even think they have a problem.

I am also equally quick to call out non fire based agencies with shortcomings, but they usually try to hide them rather than publishing propaganda on how perfect they are.


I agree! And what was the problem... the roads had too much snow. So call the DOT for a plow. Heck break out the shovels and start digging if you feel you must. The FD is no more qualified to shovel snow that anyone else so why do they (in your opinion from what I am inferring) get the special job of shoveling snow?.

It was not I who posted call the FD to shovel snow. However, every fire truck I have been on did have a shovel. I have only been on a handful of ambulances, both fire or otherwise, that had one. It sounds like a failure of the local EMS agency to not have a shovel on its units, considering it snows in Pittsburg every year.

And if we didn't have a shovel on the ambulance it meant our pants and socks were going to get wet as we trekked through the snow.

It is worthy to note though that in Bratislava, Slovakia, The fire department there considers it a duty to help EMS reach patients and in particularly inclimate weather, ( routinely more snow and cold than Pittsburg) the FD helps by taking on as part of maintaining emergency readiness, clearing major roadways of snow so there is better access in the event of an emergency.

Likewise, when I was part of a suburban US fire department, we had a plow on one of the FD pickups that would precede both the squad and heavier apparatus in heavy snow, because DOT wasn't always nearby. It seems quite possible (and probably a good idea) to equip a plow on many ambulances if you may have need of one.

It is not that the FD should have cleared the snow, or they are better at it then anyone else, they just happen to usually have equipment and manpower. It makes more sense to have the EMS crew attend the patient while anothers dig them out or make a sled. In this case it seems the patient would have been better off calling the ski patrol than 911.

Not sure what this is about... maybe something towards FD's. To rescue the Pt call a plow and while your waiting read a book. Start walking if you want to get to them sooner. But abandoning them is not an option..

I was trying to make the point that this was a rescue call that went unrecognized.(when last I heard Pittsburg EMS had its own rescue units, but it has been about a year since i spoke with somebody there) It had nothing to do with FDs. I agree fully, if you work in EMS in a winter climate and you are not able to walk through snow, then you didn't come to work prepared and you didn't do your job.
 
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How? Are they properly equipped by the service to be hiking in snow and ice? Are you sure that was actually said? Have you ever heard of "is the scene safe"?

Don't judge as you may not have all the facts.

Clealry was not a safety issue if you can aska a patient to walk through the snow. Are you in a location that gets snow on a regular basis? If you expect the patient to walk through it, the healthy medics can at least wlak through it and do an assessment to see if its serious.
 
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medic417

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Clealry was not a safety issue if you can aska a patient to walk through the snow. Are you in a location that gets snow on a regular basis? If you expect the patient to walk through it, the healthy medics can at least wlak through it and do an assessment to see if its serious.

The patient attempted to walk to them but could not cross the bridge, perhaps the medics did get out and try to reach them to find that they could not cross said bridge either. Also note that a doctor cancelled the calls as well. So this could also be considered a case of triage where you have to move on to help someone in greater need. Sorry that's life.
 
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firecoins

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The patient attempted to walk to them but could not cross the bridge, perhaps the medics did get out and try to reach them to find that they could not cross said bridge either. Also note that a doctor cancelled the calls as well. So this could also be considered a case of triage where you have to move on to help someone in greater need. Sorry that's life.

The ambulace got within visual distance of the house. The wife saw the ambulance but no attempt herself.

Also note the doctor was not onscene. He did it over the phone. You got have the in person assessment.

from the article
"We should have gotten there," Public Safety Director Michael Huss said. "It's that simple."


http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10048/1036403-53.stm#ixzz0fqo0m5ei
 
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Veneficus

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The patient attempted to walk to them but could not cross the bridge, perhaps the medics did get out and try to reach them to find that they could not cross said bridge either. Also note that a doctor cancelled the calls as well. So this could also be considered a case of triage where you have to move on to help someone in greater need. Sorry that's life.

I think it was unfortunatly a case of many small things that led up to a big one.

If nobody could cross the bridge, (big steel structure and most of the bridges in PA I have seen are unsafe to walk across on a warm sunny day) then the patient needed rescued. Appropriate resources should have been called. Clearly a desire for medical attention was there. It wasn't like the EMS crew was being asked to walk out onto the ice of the river.

There was a failure of priority dispatch. But priority dispatch will never be perfect.

Whoever the doc was probably made what we now see in hindsight as a poor decision, but probably made it with imperfect 2nd or 3rd hand information. We all know the picture you paint to med control determines what they will say.

The EMS system was clearly had major shortcomings. (like dispatchers not being able to recognize an increasingly worse patient description with subsequent calls from the same address. since I doubt it was the same dispatcher answering the phone each time, it was probably a lack from the computer software.

Who was notified that there were multiple calls from the same address so that somebody farther up the chian could help address it?

The city apologized, took responsibility, and started to initiate changes so soon. I don't think they would have done that if they thought everything went well.

Undoubtable an EMS responder from any agency has the responsibility of ensuring their own safety. However the EMS agency has the responsibility to make sure responders are trained and equipped to handle the needs of its populous or that resources that are so capable are brought to bear. It could be as simple as callingthe FD or somebody on the other side of the bridge from a neighboring jurisdiction.

http://pghbridges.com/glassport/0594-4458/maladyelizabeth.htm

PA51 is also a major artery

http://www.gribblenation.com/swparoads/51/51Intro.html
 
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