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Two New Bedford Paramedics to be Disciplined for not Continuing CPR

Reprinted with Permission



NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- Mayor Scott W. Lang said sanctions against two city paramedics will be announced sometime after a hearing for them is held Friday.



A state investigative report found the paramedics, Rosemary Nunes and Ivan Brody, violated state protocols during a December 2008 emergency call by failing to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a baby in cardiac arrest and then inaccurately recording the details of the call.



Video courtesy WPRI CBS 12 Providence



The state has recommended a 30-day suspension of Nunes and Brody's emergency medical technician certifications.



"I do want to hear what they have to say," Lang said Wednesday afternoon. Lang said his focus on the December incident is how and why the paramedics made the decision not to perform CPR, which is an issue of not properly following state protocol.



"Everything I've heard everywhere ... (is) basically saying to me, 'This is not a case where we're alleging these individuals committed any kind of lack of medical care'" that would have led to a different result, Lang said.



Melissa Valliere and Richard Rock Jr. of New Bedford said they met with Lang on Wednesday and the city confirmed it was their baby who died in the December incident. Lang couldn't answer all of their questions, Valliere said, but said he would get back to them with more answers.



"He does believe that the paramedics did not have any contribution to having our son pass away," she said. "It kind of does make me feel a lot better."



Valliere said the couple recommended the paramedics be required to repeat the recertification process.



In December, the city immediately reported the CPR incident to its contact at the state Department of Public Health, Lang said.



At that time, the consensus between the city's Emergency Medical Services department, its medical director at St. Luke's Hospital and its contact at DPH was that the incident could be appropriately addressed through remediation training, according to Lang.



Jennifer Manley, a spokeswoman for DPH, said Tuesday the city, which was obligated to report the December incident, has never filed a formal written report with the state.



After the state received a complaint in February about the incident, it launched an investigation, which resulted in the recommended suspensions.



"I think it's far more complicated than simply the city didn't notify DPH, or DPH didn't act, didn't make the right decision on one level and then made it on another," Lang said. "What exactly broke down here?"



Lang said he has also talked with the EMS department about when it needs to notify the mayor's office and the city solicitor's office about such incidents.



"For some reason, the December incident was not regarded as an incident that would lead to action by me, the solicitor or DPH for that matter, including by DPH," he said. "That's the disconnect I want to find out about."



Lang, on Wednesday, said again that he first learned of the December incident and the ensuing investigation on Monday.



He received a letter from Tom Pimental, an EMS field supervisor laid off by the city in February, sometime after the layoffs, Lang said, but he said he did not read it closely.



Pimental's letter, which he sent first on March 24 and then again on April 7, discussed the December incident and the state investigation.



Pimental first filed a written report of the incident with EMS Director James Trout the day it occurred.



"I looked at it and put it down, sent it down to solicitor's office," Lang said of the letter. "I didn't spend a minute on that letter, do not know what that letter indicates one way or the other."



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