D.C. Fire protocol under scrutiny after death of caller

(WJLA) - An early morning call from this house last week alerted firefighters that a woman had fallen. But when help arrived, the woman refused help, so the firefighters put her in bed and left. A few hours later, there was another call – this time, the woman had died.

There is typically { }protocol in situations like this. Before they leave the{ }caller in need,{ }department policy says the EMT’s should do follow-up tests to determine whether the subject is competent, then get a signed release from that patient before leaving – especially in a case where the subject is diabetic. Diabetics tend to get disoriented and may not know what they need.

This is the latest in a roster of issues, which have plagued the D.C. Fire Department lately. Last week, the Lieutenant at Engine 26 who was in charge when elderly Cecil Mills died of a heart attack across the street, retired without any disciplinary action.

But still, some in D.C. say this latest incident is very different:

"I don't get it -- if somebody says no, they are free to say no, they are free to choose the medical treatment that they get..." says Charlie Fontana.