Collier Sheriff's Office at odds with EMS over ambulance delay
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES, Fla. -The Collier County Sheriff's Office and EMS seem to be at odds over what went wrong the day six agonizing minutes passed before an ambulance ever left Medic Station 42 to help save a dying man's life.
The sheriff's office says human error, combined with unknown technical problems, created that critical delay preventing an ambulance from arriving sooner.
Chaz Minard, 25, lay dying when his parents called 911 on Dec. 14.
Fox 4 has learned dispatchers notified a fire engine and an ambulance a minute after the Minard's called for help. But reports show Medic Station 42 didn't receive any information.
On Monday, Chaz's dad, Charles Minard, met with EMS Chief Walter Kopka, who had been ignoring us for three weeks.
"Walter Kopka pretty much laid it in the hands of dispatch," said Minard. "'We have our handheld tablets and we didn't get our tones or signals.'"
Capt. Roy Arigo with the Collier County Sheriff's Office disputes that.
"We're not going to get into an argument with EMS," said Arigo. "I don't know why they didn't get the tones. Our system shows the tones went out."
Arigo says they notified Medic Station 42, which is backed up by documents and radio recordings.
"The tones went to their radio," said Arigo. "There's no doubt the tones went to their radio."
Each station has its own tone to alert them to an emergency call. Arigo isn't sure why Medic 42 didn't hear their tone alerts that day.
"Why they didn't hear that," said Arigo, "I don't know what their procedure is regarding that."
An incident report after the delay shows the crew was "in separate areas of the station cleaning and running the vacuum" at the time. So far, EMS has refused to comment.
According to the county's policy, if a medic station fails to respond, dispatchers should call to check in after two minutes. In this case, the dispatcher waited four.
"Typically she should notice that," said Arigo. "But it's a human error."
Which they have now taken steps to correct.
In the past, if the crew had not left the station within two minutes a red light would flash on the dispatcher's screen, which in this case, was missed. Now, the alert will be accompanied by an audible tone, according to Arigo.
"They'll notice it more quickly," he said, noting the dispatcher might have missed it because "it's not something that happens very often."
Arigo says he's not sure what went wrong technically but says some computer parts have been replaced as a precaution.
He doesn't expect the issue to happen again.