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D.C. EMS faces review in death of girl, 2

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By Theola Labbé-DeBose
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 4, 2010

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services has opened a review into the death last month of a 2-year-old District girl who was having breathing problems and was not immediately taken to a hospital.

Emergency responders went to the 800 block of Southern Avenue SE shortly before 5 a.m. on Feb. 10, department spokesman Pete Piringer said. Paramedics arrived minutes later, and the toddler was evaluated but not taken to a hospital, Piringer said.

About nine hours later, a 911 call was received from the same address for a child with breathing problems.

The child was taken to Children's National Medical Center, where she died the next day. The inquiry was opened after a hospital social worker alerted department officials to the paramedics' earlier visit to the house.

Several emergency workers who responded to the call have been placed on administrative leave while the review is underway, Piringer said. He did not know how many or what types of emergency workers were affected.

Kenneth Lyons, president of the union that represents single-role paramedics in the department, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The department came under fire after retired New York Times reporter David E. Rosenbaum was mugged and beaten in 2006 and paramedics, assuming that he was drunk, did not rush him to a hospital. He later died. As part of a settlement with Rosenbaum's family, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) promised better training and other reforms.

In December 2008, Edward L. Givens, 38, died after complaining of chest pains. Paramedics who went to Givens's Northeast Washington home ran tests and then left after a stay of about 12 minutes, according to an internal department report. Givens died hours later of a heart attack.


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