- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2003

A paramedic accused of returning to the fire station at the end of his shift instead of responding to an emergency medical call that ended in the death of a D.C. man in December has been fired, the paramedic said yesterday.
Fire department sources said an ambulance was ordered to the scene at 6:01 p.m. Dec. 6 for a suspected cardiac arrest in the 1600 block of A Street NE. The order was issued one minute after the paramedic's 12-hour day shift ended.
Sources said the paramedic driving the ambulance deviated from the assigned call because his shift had ended. The sources said the medical crew coming on duty was astonished to see the ambulance back in quarters and jumped aboard to complete the call.
A fire engine was on the scene, and emergency medical technicians were administering CPR. But by the time the ambulance arrived at 6:26 p.m., 25 minutes after it was dispatched, with intravenous medications and heart-monitoring equipment, Edward Roland, 51, was dead.
Fire department spokesman Alan Etter said an ambulance was dispatched to that location on that day and at that time, and that the response was reviewed by department officials. He said he could not discuss the review, nor any resulting personnel actions, but indicated the department would take "appropriate actions" in the case.
"We consider this very serious," he said.
When contacted by The Washington Times last night, the paramedic who was driving the ambulance at the time the cardiac-arrest dispatch was made said he had been served termination papers Saturday.
Paramedic Derrick Boone denied deviating from the emergency call. He said he had returned to quarters from a previous run and was in his ambulance outside the station when the dispatch order came in. He said he was taking down information from the radio when a paramedic on the next shift relieved him and responded to the call.
Another paramedic, Calvin Ford, was riding with Mr. Boone at the time. It was not known whether Mr. Ford would face disciplinary action. Mr. Ford could not be reached last night.
"They're saying we brought the [ambulance] back to the firehouse, but we were already there," Mr. Boone said. "We were backing down, getting relieved."
Records of the call obtained by The Times indicate that Medic 32 Mr. Boone's ambulance was dispatched for a suspected cardiac arrest to the 1600 block of A Street NE at 6:01 p.m. However, the records indicate Medic 32 arrived back in quarters at 6:10 p.m.
Mr. Boone said there were mitigating circumstances regarding the excessive response time, including the fact that the ambulance had chains on its tires because of a recent snowstorm and could not travel faster than 25 miles per hour. He also said that responding from Southeast played a role in the delay.
Kenneth Lyons, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3721, which represents the city's medics, said he was aware of the mitigating circumstances Mr. Boone mentioned and that the union would defend him against the department's charges.
Reached at her home yesterday, Mr. Roland's mother, Ollie Roland, declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the delay of the ambulance.
"I'm just really so upset, I don't even know how long it took," Mrs. Roland said.

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