Two Georgetown/Scott County Emergency Medical Services workers are on state probation resulting from their handling of the case of an 81-year-old man who died, records show.
An investigation by the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services led to paramedic Nathaniel Drake being placed on eight months probation and fined $300, while emergency medical technician Benjamin Dunham was placed on six months probation and ordered to provide proof of continuing education, KBEMS records show.
GSCEMS Director David Sloane said the ambulance service took no action against Drake or Dunham.
“Our services weren’t found to be at fault,” Sloane said. The state action against the EMS workers was, he said, sufficient.
Sloane said Drake was initially hired as a part-time paramedic in February 2010 and came on full-time in June 2011. Dunham was hired as a part-time EMT in June 2011 and remains part-time, he also works full time for a Louisville ambulance service, Sloane said. .
Neither Dunham nor Drake could be reached for comment Wednesday.
The punishments – which allow both men to continue performing emergency medical services – stemmed from a Jan. 14, 2012, call to the Cincinnati Road home of Roy Moss.
“The investigation has shown that the EMS crew did not enter the residence prepared to handle the situation, no cardiac monitor,” KBEMS investigator Samuel H. Lowe reported on June 15.
“It appears that even if ventilations (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR) were delivered in the residence they did not meet the recommended one breath every 5 to 6 seconds,” Lowe wrote.
Lowe’s investigation came after Moss’ daughters, Regina Mingua and Debbe Ochenskoski, filed a complaint with the board a few weeks after their father died.
Ochenskoski said she pushed for the inquiry after she – a registered nurse with more than 20 years experience – reviewed the run report submitted by the GSCEMS workers.
“CPR is the number-one thing you do for someone” in cardiac arrest, Ochenskoski said.
But the run report showed long gaps between the time the EMS workers arrived at Moss’ house and when they – assisted by a backup crew – began performing CPR.
The incident began a few hours after Moss returned home from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Lexington, where he had been receiving treatment for several health issues. About 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 14, he began complaining of difficulty breathing.
The run report shows the crew arrived at the Moss home at 9:52 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2012. CPR, it states, was initiated at 9:57 p.m.
It also states “manual defibrillation” – or use of a defib machine to shock the heart – didn’t begin until 10 p.m., eight minutes after Drake and Dunham arrived.
Lowe’s report shows Drake and Dunham did not take a defib machine into the house, and that the first shock was administered in the ambulance. Moss also was intubated in the ambulance by a member of the other EMS crew.
“From all the interviews and documentation it appears the patient might not (have) received adequate ventilations prior to the intubations. It appears there was a delay in (Moss’) receiving defibrillation since the monitor was left in the truck as the crew entered the residence,” Lowe states.
Lowe’s report also notes disparities between Drake’s story and the family’s recollections in relation to the efforts to help Moss breath.
“Paramedic Drake states he began bagging the patient, but the family states he (Moss) was never given oxygen nor had anything placed on his mouth at any time in the residence,” Lowe wrote.
Ochenskoski met the ambulance crew at Georgetown Community Hospital, where she told doctors to stop their efforts when they seemed to have no effect.
Her concerns about how the EMS workers handled their father’s case grew after hearing her mother and sister’s descriptions that little being done inside the house.
The family, she said, is aware that Moss may not have survived the heart attack no matter what the EMS workers did.
But Moss’ widow and daughters remain upset that the EMS workers came into the house unprepared.
“It should be automatic that they go in there prepared for the worst,” Ochenskoski said.
“Dad may have died anyway. But we could have lived with that knowing that everything that could have been done was done,” she said.
The board handed down its punishments on Oct. 26, 2012, Sloane said.