- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2008

Family members of slain journalist David E. Rosenbaum yesterday said they are satisfied with the District’s progress in reforming its emergency medical services and will permanently drop a lawsuit against the city.

“I think they’ve demonstrated that they’re taking this seriously,” said Mr. Rosenbaum’s son-in-law, Toby Halliday. And “they don’t have intentions not to because we don’t have the lawsuit.”

The Rosenbaum family filed a $20 million civil lawsuit in November 2006 against the District and Howard University Hospital, charging that a neglectful, botched emergency response and poor care by hospital workers contributed to Mr. Rosenbaum’s death.

The 63-year-old journalist was walking in his Northwest neighborhood Jan. 6, 2006, when he was beaten and robbed by two men. He died two days later.

Family members and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced a settlement in March last year that said the lawsuit would be dropped in exchange for the creation of a task force to examine ways to improve the city’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services department.

The family retained the right to reinstate the lawsuit within a year if they were not satisfied with the implementation of the task force’s recommendations.

Yesterday, Mr. Rosenbaum’s brother, Marcus, said the family is pleased that some of the recommendations have been or are nearly accomplished, such as elevating the medical director’s position in the department to the equivalent of an assistant fire chief.

He said a meeting with City Administrator Dan Tangherlini and Fire Chief Dennis Rubin on Wednesday showed that the District is “pretty much on schedule” with implementing reforms.

He urged city officials to continue efforts to strengthen the Department of Health’s oversight of EMS, shorten delays in hospital emergency rooms and change the overall culture of the agency.

“We are pleased that we were able to do our small bit to try to make sure that what happened to David doesn’t happen to someone else in the city,” Marcus Rosenbaum said. “We will keep an eye on progress and point out where we think it is lacking.”

Mr. Fenty, a Democrat, said more progress is needed and pledged to keep the Rosenbaum family informed of the city’s efforts.

“We are nowhere near finished with what we need to do,” Mr. Fenty said. “The city government does not in any way think that this is over, or that we’ve arrived or that anything is completely resolved.”

The Rosenbaums settled their lawsuit against Howard University Hospital last year. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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