Is All of Washington DC Rotten? — DC Fire Station Refused to Aid Man with Heart Attack, Who Later Died — This Probably Would Not Have Happened in New York City

© 2014 Peter Free


31 January 2014



As a former first responder, the following story got my goat


From the Washington Post:



Three times people banged on the door of the Northeast Washington firehouse seeking help for a man who had collapsed. Each time, the rescuers inside turned them away.


But the firefighters didn’t come. When [Marie Mills] spotted one standing in an open bay door, she ran to the curb. “Can you just come and help my dad?” she screamed. “What are you going to do, let my dad die in the street?”


Mills said she was told by people who tried to help that the firefighters said that they couldn’t respond unless someone called 911.


It took 15 to 20 minutes for help to show up on Saturday, she said, and then arrived only because a D.C. police officer flagged down an ambulance that happened to pass by.


Her father, Medric Cecil Mills Jr., died of an apparent heart attack at MedStar Washington Hospital Center that afternoon.


District authorities are investigating Mills’s death and have ordered 15 firefighters on duty that day to headquarters for questioning. One was told to drive in from his home in Pennsylvania.


© 2014 Peter Hermann, Man, 77, dies after collapsing near D.C. fire station and not getting immediate aid, Washington Post (29 January 2014)


Contrast this story of (apparently) willful callousness with the life-sacrificing service that New York City’s Fire Department consistently seems to display.



The moral? — Where you live in America matters


It may be that working virtually next door to nation’s political branches is a bad influence on getting anything worthwhile done, even at the local level.  (For another instance of the District of Columbia’s apparently lackadaisical approach to hazards, see here.)


Why bother to serve and protect, when you can still collect your paycheck and passively aggressively screw folks at the same time?


Incomprehensible failures of this kind — in a service that is explicitly dedicated to saving lives — usually do not occur, when command leadership is caring, mission-oriented, and competent.