Four Mansfield firefighters were terminated this month following a March 21 incident involving allegations of a lack of appropriate medical care and inappropriate restraints, among other disciplinary charges. The incident involved a 29-year-old man being transferred in a city squad run.
The patient was suffering from an asthma attack, according to the Mansfield 911 call the man's wife made at 9:24 p.m. to a 911 dispatcher.
The man's wife told a dispatcher his breathing was labored and his inhaler was not working. She said he was pale, sweating, wheezing and having trouble speaking between breaths, according to the 911 tape the News Journal obtained from the city.
Bobby McGuire of Mansfield was that patient.
Friday, he said, "I will never, ever trust the Mansfield Fire Department again."
"The night it happened, when I rolled into the ER, Dr. Thai and his nurses brought me back to life in the ED. I had no heart rate and was I clinically dead for three minutes," he said.
He said he was being transferred from his wife's parents' home on Harter Avenue to OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital.
McGuire declined further comment.
The four firefighters terminated June 14 are Firefighter/EMT George Williams, Lt./EMT Allen Price, Firefighter/EMT Matthew Kendle and Firefighter/EMT Michael Drum, according to termination letters the News Journal obtained in a public records request to the city's human resource director, Sharon May. Both the Mansfield fire Chief Steve Strickling and interim Safety Service Director Dave Remy made the determination for termination actions.
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Firefighter George Williams
According to personnel records provided by the city, Strickling on June 1 recommended Williams, who has been employed at the fire department since August 2008, be terminated in reference to the March 21 incident.
Remy agreed with the chief's recommendation and his own findings regarding the 16 disciplinary charges against Williams, that he be terminated from employment as a firefighter with the city, effective June 13, according to personnel records.
The individual disciplinary charges for Williams included failure to conduct and document a primary survey and failure to deliver supplemental oxygen to a person in respiratory distress and erroneously administrating Atrovent without assessing for past medical history of COPD or emphysema.
Williams' disciplinary charges included "restraining a patient in a manner that restricted adequate monitoring of vital signs, the ability to protect the patient's airways and otherwise prevented appropriate and necessary therapeutic measures," according to the record. Another of Williams' charges cited was "attempting to restrain the patient flat with arms outstretched overhead and bound with Coban (a self-adhering wrap)."
Williams' disciplinary charges in the public record included yelling/excessive force: "Yelling at the agitated patient 'not today (expletive)' and placing the patient in a physical restraint about the head and neck."
Also, a disciplinary charge indicates a violation of state scope of practice, "applying a mechanical, physical restraint outside of the scope of practice for a paramedic in the State of Ohio."
Williams' charges also include "allowing the patient that was already inappropriately being restrained to be further subjected to prone positioning during the handcuffing, thus further compromising the patient's medical condition."
Body camera video shows Williams made a false statement concerning the patient's condition during transfer of care, the records show. Williams said the patient was breathing on his own but the body camera video shows the "patient flaccid without purposeful movements and the ED staff providing ventilations to the patient who was not breathing on his own."
Mansfield Fire Lt. Allen Price
In his disciplinary charges, the chief recommended Price be demoted from lieutenant to firefighter, effective June 13. On June 14, Price was terminated on seven charges, including failure to report the incident to a superior officer, and "failure to perform assessment, evaluate lung sounds, record vital signs, record publish an accurate respiratory rate, deliver supplemental oxygen, establish IV access, conduct cardiac monitoring or perform capnography," according to personnel records signed by Remy.
Price joined the fire department in August 1996.
Firefighter Matthew Kendle
Kendle's disciplinary seven charges included intimidating or attempting to intimidate the person who originally reported the alleged incident, thus trying to obstruct the investigation. Also among the charges was, "Failing to reassess the patient, open the airway ... and ventilate and provide oxygen."
Kendle joined the department in December 2005.
Firefighter Michael Drum
Drum's nine disciplinary charges included allowing a patient who was already inappropriately restrained to be further subjected to prone positioning during the handcuffing, thus further compromising the patient's medical condition.
Drum, in another charge, failed to correct the the restraint applied by Firefighter William while enroute to the emergency department and at the emergency department. Drum has been an employee of the fire department since October 1997.
Two of the four Mansfield firefighters terminated — Drum and Williams — were placed on paid administrative leave on March 31, the News Journal earlier reported.