Baby's death causes father to question DC response - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Baby's death causes father to question DC response

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The father of a five month old who died over the weekend after going into sudden cardiac arrest is speaking out tonight about the paramedic who tried to save her and the emotional letter of warning that paramedic sent to the D.C. City Council.

Philip Bolden didn't know the name of the paramedic who tried to save his baby’s life until FOX 5 showed him the letter Tuesday. He was in tears as he read it.

Jon Botwin sent the letter to the D.C. City Council Monday with a word of warning after learning two other paramedics would have been closer to the call but were not staffed that day.

Now the baby’s father wants to know why.

Last Thursday afternoon Phillip Bolden was taking care of little Zariah in his girlfriend’s apartment when he came out of the bathroom and noticed something was wrong.

"I laid my baby down in her boppy pillow, so she could watch TV”, said Philip Bolden in an interview Tuesday, “it was no more than five to seven minutes, when I came back she was laying on her side, basically not breathing, I picked her up, called her name, no response, I called 911".

Bolden says he attempted CPR on his own while listening to instructions from the 911 dispatcher and was relieved when the first EMT's arrived.

"They carried her out in their arms".

The D.C. Fire Department says it dispatched units at 2:05 pm with the first engine arriving without a paramedic three minutes later.

At 2:13 pm, eight minutes after the initial dispatch an ambulance staffed with EMT’s arrived around the same time Paramedics from EMS 7 and Engine 26 got on the scene. Both EMS 7 and Engine 26, with Jon Botwin on board, were more than two miles in heavy city traffic when they first got the call.

Bolden says he sat in the ambulance and watched the paramedics work on the baby feeling helpless.

"I asked what was taking so long and they said they were trying to get the IV's together, they were trying to get her stable".

According to the firefighters union there should have been paramedics assigned to the closest units: engine three on New Jersey Avenue and medic two on F Street. But on that day there was no one to staff them

A fact that infuriated Jon Botwin who told the city council in the letter, "Enough is enough, The few paramedics remaining are frustrated, we are burning out, and there is no end in site (sic) it is only getting worse, and I stress it is only getting worse. The citizens are suffering, we are suffering, and remember it might be you dialing 911 next".

After reading Botwin’s letter, Bolden too is wondering what if, "Honestly, to tell you the truth I don't know I just wanted them to hurray there, I stressed that to the lady on the phone and she said help was on the way and it seemed like it was forever".

D.C. police say there was no trauma to the body of the baby and as of Tuesday afternoon the cause and manner of death is still undetermined.

Once again we reached out to the D.C. Fire Department and Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe today for comment on the downgrades that day and the fire departments response to the fathers call for help.

Statement from Dr. David Miramontes, DCFEMS Medical Director

DC Fire and EMS Department units responded to a 911 call for service in the 1200 Block of North Capitol Street, NW on Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm.

The closest unit, Engine 06, arrived on scene in less than three minutes of dispatch. While it is not a paramedic unit, Engine 6 was staffed with Nationally Certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) who provided initial medical care.

The closest available ambulance (A16), Paramedic Engine (PEC 26), and Paramedic EMS Supervisor (EMS 7) were also simultaneously dispatched and arrived in less than 7.5 minutes. On the day in question, Engine 3 was downgraded from a Paramedic Engine to a Basic Life Support Engine, because employees took unscheduled leave.

Per established dispatch protocol, the geographically closest available resources are sent to high priority calls. As such, Engine 6 was the closest available first response apparatus and was appropriately dispatched along with the other units.

The providers working for DC Fire and EMS consistently render exceptional care to the District’s sick and injured no matter the circumstances, and the responders involved in this case performed admirably.

Dr. David Miramontes, DCFEMS Medical Director

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