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Journalist's Family Wants Reform, Not Money

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, shown with the slain journalist's son, Daniel Rosenbaum, says the city will fix its emergency medical services.
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, shown with the slain journalist's son, Daniel Rosenbaum, says the city will fix its emergency medical services. (By Carol Guzy -- The Washington Post)

The lawsuit was filed in November on behalf of Rosenbaum's adult children, Daniel and Dottie.

Family attorney Patrick Regan praised Fenty for reaching out to the family even before he was sworn in and then instructing his staff to work closely with the Rosenbaums to forge a settlement. But Regan had harsh words for Howard University Hospital -- which remains a defendant in the lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court.

The city's ambulance bypassed the closest hospital and took Rosenbaum to Howard because one of the emergency medical technicians had personal business to attend to near there. Rosenbaum was not seen by a hospital physician for more than 90 minutes and did not get a neurological evaluation until he had been there almost four hours, the family's lawsuit alleges.

"Howard University's performance was unacceptable, atrocious. It was Third World service in the nation's capital," Regan said. "While the District has stepped up and said, 'Work with us,' Howard has refused to step up. They've covered up what they did. . . . At every turn, Howard has offered excuse after excuse."

A spokeswoman for Howard did not respond to a request for comment.

D.C. police also were faulted in the case for failing to thoroughly investigate an earlier robbery that could have led to the suspects. Two men have been convicted in the killing: Percey Jordan, who was sentenced to a 65-year term, and his cousin Michael C. Hamlin, who cooperated with prosecutors and received a 26-year term.

The city's new task force will have six months to develop a report. Toby Halliday, Rosenbaum's son-in-law, will serve as the family's representative. The panel will include city officials and emergency care experts who have yet to be identified.

"Our goal is to look beyond the individual errors in this case to bigger issues of emergency medical services," Halliday said, as his wife, brother-in-law and other family members looked on.

"The results must be meaningful and measurable," Halliday added, "with changes and results that can be tracked over time to see if they are effective."


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