Woman who called 911 for medical issue says she was denied aid

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Northwest Washington woman said Tuesday that D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel refused to take her to a hospital in December after she complained of breathing problems, and authorities said they are looking into the matter.

The woman, Kimberley Kelsey, 39, said rescue personnel showed up at her home on Rhode Island Avenue after she called Dec. 22, but "one of them told me it didn't sound like I was having, you know, breathing problems. . . . He didn't even examine me."

She said the rescue workers left without taking her, but she later called 911 again and spoke to a supervisor. She said other rescue workers arrived, and took her to Georgetown University Hospital, where she spent days in intensive care.

Kelsey said she got in touch with the news media after learning recently of an incident in which a child died last month after not being taken to a hospital immediately. The two year old was evaluated but not taken for treatment at first, authorities said. She was taken after another 911 call, but died the next day. A review is underway.

In the incident that came to light Tuesday, a fire department spokesman said department files appeared to contain no complaint from Kelsey.

He said the department is looking into the account that the woman gave to the news media.

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