- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2006

12:44 p.m.

The D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary today is expected to react to a report criticizing the efforts of first responders in the fatal attack of a New York Times journalist in January.

Council member Phil Mendelson, who heads the committee, has said the District’s emergency response system needs an “overhaul” following the attack on David E. Rosenbaum, who was beaten and robbed near his home on Gramercy Street NW Jan. 6.

Mr. Rosenbaum died two days later.

The committee’s oversight hearing today will address a 90-page report from the D.C. Inspector General’s Office that has led to the disciplining of three Emergency Medical Services (EMS) employees in connection with the case.

Selena Walker, who drove the ambulance that responded to the scene, has been fired. Assistant Director of EMS Operations Jerome Stack was suspended for 10 days, and EMS supervisor Harry Jones chose to retire rather than take a reduction in rank.

The report, released Friday, said 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 assess Mr. Rosenbaum’s injuries when he was brought there and failed to follow their own procedures for monitoring patients for signs of trauma, the report said.

The report’s harshest criticism was leveled at the fire department.

It said the first-responding firefighters, who are trained as EMTs, failed to adequately assess the victim’s condition and assumed him to be drunk.

They thereby excluded other explanations for his symptoms and also failed to communicate his status to the ambulance crew at the scene.

The report also 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, 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,” Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby wrote, adding that Miss Walker “made a point of distancing herself from the care of the Gramercy Street patient.”

The two men charged with the crime, Michael C. Hamlin, 23, and Percy Jordan, 42, were arraigned Friday 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.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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