Regarding the March 2 front-page article “Rancor in the rank and file”:
Why does the nation’s capital continue to accept an inept rescue service? The tragic lack of response to Medric Cecil Mills Jr. as he was having a heart attack demonstrated inadequate training of personnel, the botched dispatch of a fire vehicle and a lack of professionalism of supervisors, along with rancor in the rank and file. Why do we continue to elect mayors and council members who allow this incompetence to continue?
Other cities show what’s needed. Seattle has an innovative, medically driven Emergency Medical Services operating within the fire department that boasts a cardiac-arrest survival rate of 57 percent. In Boston, EMS and fire operations were split, and now the city has a survival rate around 40 percent.
The systemic failures of D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services cannot be fixed with a few resignations. Since Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and the three previous mayors have lacked the needed commitment, Washingtonians will have to demand it of our next mayor.
Harvey Sloane, Washington
The writer was the District’s health commissioner from 1995 to 1997.