Last Saturday morning, while four shiny ambulances sat parked at Bethesda's Congressional Country Club -- scene of the Kemper Open -- 17-year-old Anita Giuliani's pickup truck ran off a nearby road and slammed into a tree.
Two women dragged the bleeding teen-ager from the burning vehicle and drove her to her Potomac home, where her parents frantically called for an ambulance. By their estimate, it was 25 minutes before one finally arrived.
"I asked the driver what had taken them so long. We only live a few miles from the Cabin John Rescue Squad," Gilbert Giuliani said yesterday. "The driver said he was from Bethesda and that he had gotten lost. All the other ambulances in the area, he said, were at the Kemper."
Indeed, all the local ambulances -- two from Cabin John Rescue Squad, one from Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad and one from the Rockville Fire Department -- had been dispatched to the Kemper Open that day.
"We couldn't get an ambulance from anywhere," Janet Giuliani said yesterday. "Someone in charge made a very poor decision. It seems unreasonable to me that someone at a golf game would have priority over someone in a car accident."
That decision, according to Montgomery County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Leonard King, "was made by everybody to provide the necessary service" for the sporting event, which attracted some 17,000 spectators that day.
The Cabin John Rescue Squad, which received a $5,000 charitable contribution this year from the Kemper Open, had all its "front line" equipment at the golf tournament on Saturday. According to a spokesman, that equipment included two ambulances, one boat, a four-wheel drive vehicle for putting out brush fires and three fire trucks.
The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, a private, nonprofit organization that also received a $5,000 contribution from the gold tournament, supplied one ambulance, which featured a mobile intensive care unit.
According to fire officials, there was only one serious emergency at the golf tournament all week. On Wednesday, a spectator suffered a cardiac arrest.
But on Saturday, while Anita Giuliani was bleeding profusely waiting for help, only one local ambulance was actually put into emergency service at the country club.
"We had one spectator with a possible fractured ankle," said Capt. Richard Blandford. Asked what other injuries had occured at the week-long golf tournament, Blandford laughed and said, "A couple of 'em got hit by golf balls."
Cabin John Rescue Squad chief Don Money yesterday defended his company's decision to man the Congressional Country Club's golf course.
Although the rescue squad normally services more than 25,000 Cabin John and Potomac residents, Money said yesterday, "Your chance for needing an ambulance would be more for 17,000 people" at the Kemper Open.
Early yesterday, Lt. Ray Mulhall, communications officer for Montgomery County Fire Department, said the four ambulances at the Kemper Open were not available for response outside the grounds of the country club. But after conferring with Money -- who insisted that his ambulances went on several calls Saturday outside the golf tournament -- Mulhall corrected himself, saying the decision not to send one of the ambulances to the Giuliani residence at 10701 Glen Rd. was made by a supervisor.
Asked why that decision was made, Mulhall said, "I don't know that."
According to a tape recording made by the Montgomery County Fire Department, Janet Giuliani made the first call for help at 10:19 a.m. Four minutes later, Gilbert Giuliani called. "This kid's going to bleed to death," he cried. At 10:29 a.m., according to the tape, his wife called again. "Your goddamn ambulance has driven by. The girl's going to die."
At that point, officials said yesterday, a fire truck from the Rockville Fire Department arrived on the scene. It was several minutes later that the ambulance drove up. Officials said yesterday that they had no record of the ambulance's time of arrival. At 10:40, officials said, they received a message saying the ambulance was leaving the house.
"We waited 25 minutes, easily," Janet Giuliani insisted yesterday.
But Montgomery County fire spokesman King said yesterday he "begged to differ" with the account, saying, "Things don't happen that way. It just doesn't take that long."
Gibert Giuliani said yesterday he had to give the befuddled ambulance driver directions from the Bethesda station at Democracy Boulevard to the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital."Once we got there, we had to drive around the parking lot. He didn't even know where the emergency room was."
His daughter, Giuliani said yesterday, received 80 stitches in her forehead for major lacerations. "If it had been a cardiac patient," he said, "it could have been a death."
Anita's parents, who run the Potomac Country Day School, said yesterday the ambulance should have come from Congressional -- which is three miles from miles from their house -- rather than from Bethesda, which is a distance of some seven miles.
Ben Brundred, former president of Congressional Country Club and the general chairman of the Kemper Open, said yesterday the issue of ambulances not being available to local residents is a "bum rap."
Brundred insisted that all the ambulances made several trips outside the country club, and that they were, at all times, on call. Brundred also said the medical crews were not there "for any contributions. The money was given to them in appreciation for what they've done for us in the past."
"You know it's funny," Janet Giuliani said yesterday, "last Thursday I passed by Congressional and saw these guys standing around, talking, not doing anything. I thought to myself, 'What in the world do they need all those ambulances for?'"