- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2006

District fire officials yesterday served an emergency medical technician with termination papers after an inspector general’s report criticized her response to the fatal attack on journalist David E. Rosenbaum.

Selena Walker, who had been on no-patient-contact since the night of the Jan. 6 attack, was notified of her status yesterday at about 5:45 p.m. for failing to take appropriate actions during the response.

She is the third emergency medical services employee within the fire department to be disciplined in connection with the case.

Marcus Rosenbaum, the victim’s brother, yesterday asked city officials to hold accountable more than just the first responders whose failures in treating the attack victim were detailed in the 90-page report by Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby issued yesterday.

Mr. Rosenbaum, whose brother died after he was hit in the head and robbed while walking on Gramercy Street near his Northwest home on Jan. 6, said that he has been dissatisfied with the responses he has heard so far from the chiefs of the police and fire departments.

“Where was the sense of outrage? Where was the sense that something needs to be fixed?” he said. Asked if the chiefs should lose their jobs, he said that D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams should “certainly consider that.”

“All of them hold life-and-death jobs. If they can’t do them well they should do something else for a living,” Mr. Rosenbaum said.

Previously, assistant director of EMS operations Jerome Stack was suspended for 10 days, and EMS supervisor Harry Jones retired rather than take a reduction in rank.

Alan Etter, a fire department spokesman, would not confirm the actions.

“We can have no comment on any personnel actions, but corrective measures have been taken and Chief [Adrian H.] Thompson continues to evaluate whether further action is necessary,” he said.

The release yesterday of the inspector general’s report coincided with the arraignment of the two men charged with the crime.

Michael C. Hamlin, 23, and Percy Jordan, 42, were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court on a 17-count indictment accusing them of first-degree murder in the Rosenbaum case and another holdup the same day in Silver Spring. Jordan also faces charged in a Nov. 17 attack on a 72-year-old retired police officer.

According to the inspector general’s report, police officers who responded to the scene failed to recognize that a crime had occurred, did not search the victim for identification, and did not write an incident report.

Howard University Hospital workers failed to properly triage Mr. Rosenbaum when he was brought there, and they failed to follow their own procedures for monitoring patients for signs of trauma, the report said.

But the harshest criticism was leveled at the fire department.

The report said the first-responding firefighters, who are trained as EMTs, failed to adequately assess the victim’s condition, as they assumed him to be drunk. They thereby excluded other explanations for his symptoms and also failed to communicate his status to the ambulance crew.

The report said the ambulance was delayed when the crew got lost on the way to the scene from Providence Hospital in Northeast. It says Miss Walker, who was driving the ambulance, also decided to take the patient to Howard University Hospital instead of the closer Sibley Hospital because Howard was nearer to her home. After delivering Mr. Rosenbaum, she then went home to pick up medication for a toothache.

Miss Walker, an advanced EMT who was partnered with a firefighter trained as a basic EMT, also got lost on the way to the hospital and left the patient care to her partner.

“It is unclear to the (inspector general’s investigators) why an EMT-Advanced working with an EMT-Basic would not consider herself responsible for anything other than driving the ambulance,” the inspector general wrote, adding that Miss Walker “made a point of distancing herself from the care of the Gramercy Street patient.”

Miss Walker worked for the fire department since 2001 and had served aboard Ambulance 18 for two years.

Mr. Williams, the mayor, said he has reviewed the report with Chief Thompson.

“There were obviously multiple failures on several fronts, and I want to make it clear that I will never tolerate apathy, indifference or complacency by our first responders,” Mr. Williams said.

Chief Thompson did not respond to an interview request yesterday.

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