LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — The D.C. Fire Department has launched an investigation into its handling of a recent 911 call after a 50-year-old woman died just hours after she was seen by the department’s EMTs, sources tell WNEW.
Documents obtained by WNEW Senior Correspondent Mark Segraves show that a 17-year-old girl called 911 just before 7:30 a.m. on April 9 because her mother had fallen. Firefighters and medical personnel responded within minutes but the woman refused to go to the hospital, so they helped her into bed and left.
Less than six hours later, emergency personnel again were called because the woman was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead a short time later.
Sources tell WNEW that the first responders failed to follow protocol by filing the proper paperwork for a patient who refuses transport to the hospital. Sources say they also failed to follow up on several warning signs — the woman had dry lips and told EMTs she was a diabetic and suffered from lupus — that hinted that there could have been a more serious problem.
D.C. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander tells WNEW the case is under investigation.
A similar case happened in January, when Jose Perez collapsed outside his D.C. apartment building. He, too, wasn’t taken to a hospital, but instead taken back to his room, where he was later found dead.
A medical examiner on Monday ruled Perez’s death accidental by acute ethanol intoxication. That case also is being investigated.
Although someone can’t be forced to go to the hospital, first responders are required to follow protocols. Sources tell WNEW those protocols weren’t followed.
The firefighters who responded to the Perez call have been taken out of service while they receive more training on how to handle those types of cases. They likely will face discipline even though officials maintain they weren’t responsible for Perez’s death.
Sources say the two firefighters involved in this recent death also are back at the academy receiving similar training.
WNEW Senior Correspondent Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow Mark on Twitter.