(UnitedVoice.com) – In 2020, the San Bernardino County Fire Chief’s Association sent a memo telling first responders how to avoid spreading COVID-19. The outdated memo hasn’t been rescinded and now paramedics are citing it after a patient died.
In November, Police Officer Ralph Ballew entered a room at the Rialto Post Acute Care facility and found a nurse frantically doing chest compressions on a patient. The nurse told the officer that the patient was in cardiac arrest but they didn’t have the equipment needed to save him. While the nurse was truing to save the patient, paramedics working for the Rialto Fire Department were outside of the building refusing to enter. They claimed they weren’t allowed inside because of coronavirus restrictions.
Officer Ballew’s report alleges one of the paramedics told him that if the workers were upset with the policy they should “call their congressman.”
Body cam footage of the scene showed the police officer trying to save the patient. He pushed the hospital bed, a model that didn’t have wheels, outside to force the paramedics to help save the patient.
The patient later died at a local hospital.
Now, there’s a third-party investigation taking place. Acting Fire Chief Brian Park said the paramedics are on leave and the city council ordered the release of the body cam footage.
It’s unclear exactly what policy the paramedics were talking about when they refused to enter the facility. The only possibility was the 2020 memo from the Fire Chief’s Association, but even that instructs medics to enter the building in an emergency. The investigation is ongoing.
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