Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Michael Huss has issued disciplinary action against four Emergency Medical Service personnel for their actions during the February snowstorms that may have lead to the death of the a Hazelwood resident. Reporters heard tapes during a news conference today where EMS Crew Chiefs and medics can be heard calling Curtis Mitchell’s girlfriend and each other about trying to get to the Mitchell’s house on Chaplin Way during the storm as Mitchell continued to complain about abdominal pain. One Medic can be heard saying, “If he wants a ride to the hospital he’s going to have to come down to the truck.” Another is heard saying, “He ain’t (expletive) coming down and I ain’t waiting all day for him. I mean what the (expletive), this ain’t no cab service.” Huss says, “It just lacks such compassion that it is disturbing to me and I know when they mayor heard it, it was very disturbing to him. Its not what we are striving for here. Its not the level of care we expect.” Crew Chief Kim Long has been given a three-day suspension and district chiefs Norman Auvil and Ron Curry also received three-day suspensions. Acting crew chief Josie Dimon has been given a 5-day suspension pending termination. Huss says the resources were there including a fire house nearby and 4 wheel drive trucks that were put into service an they should have been called into service. He says the paramedics or the district chiefs should have raised a flag and not let this happen. Huss says the city failed in this situation and changes will be made to make sure it does not happen again. Huss says, “We need to improve our delivery of medical services in this city. We have a very highly trained and educated paramedic force. They have best equipment and the best training. They perform a very good service for our city. But I think in some case we got away from the basics and that has to change. That can’t go on in the future.” Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics president Anthony Weinmann says they will use the grievance process to appeal the disciplinary action. He says his members are being used as scapegoats.