Did ambulance delay cause man's death?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES - Chaz Minard, 25, lay in his room dying when his family dialed 911. It took four minutes, after the family called for help, for an ambulance to be dispatched because of a "glitch," and 12 minutes for them to arrive, the family said - wasting precious time in a life or death situation.
When lives are at stake, every second counts.
"We attempt to get on the door of the patient in eight minutes or less," said Collier County EMS Chief Walter Kopka. "
But that's not what happened to Chaz. According to his father, Charles, Chaz was diagnosed with high blood pressure and a disease causing lung inflammation. But his health problems were worse than anyone knew.
Charles found his son unconscious and not breathing on Dec. 14.
"He had fluids coming out of his mouth and he was throwing up," said Minard. "I really started shaking him and saying, 'Chaz." And I turned on the lights and I could see that he was in trouble."
The family called 911. Within minutes, firefighters and sheriff deputies arrived on scene. Minard said the cops treated it like a "crime scene."
"They came rushing into my house taking pictures," said Minard, "while he's still lying there dying."
What Chaz needed was an ambulance. But according to Minard, who spoke with EMS officials, he was told there was some sort of "glitch" that occurred and an ambulance was never notified.
It was only by chance that a nearby EMS station on Immokalee Road heard the call over the radio four minutes later.
Minard says it took took the ambulance "12 long minutes" to finally arrive.
Minutes that matter in an emergency.
"How can something like this happen?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"I don't know the details of what specifically happened yet," said Kopka.
Even though this happened more than a month ago, Kopka says they are still investigating the delay.
"In a life or death situation is this acceptable?," asked Grant.
"Again," said Kopka, "I don't know the details of how long it took."
But Minard remembers each of those agonizing minutes as he waited for help to arrive.
"Do you think if the ambulance had gotten here quicker that your son could have been saved?," asked Grant.
"I believe so," said Minard. "Maybe he might not have been 100 percent. But I believe he would be here."
The family took Chaz off life support on Dec. 21 after the hospital told them he was brain dead and would "never wake up again."
EMS officials say their investigation into what went wrong should be completed by the end of this week.
No employees have been disciplined, said Kopka.