Interoffice DFD memo raises more questions about transporting injured first responders

- FOX 2 is still looking into why a critically wounded Detroit police officer was taken to a hospital in Dearborn-- when there were two hospitals that were closer.

At least one of the hospitals that was passed up is better equipped to deal with a gunshot wound to the head and now FOX 2 has learned about trouble the EMS company Rapid Response has had with the City of Detroit.

A Detroit police officer is still in very critical condition at Beaumont Hospital Dearborn while a newly discovered memo written on behalf of the fire department is raising even more questions.

A newly uncovered email from October sent internally from the Detroit Fire Department to dispatchers says "Effective immediately, Detroit firefighters will be transported by Detroit EMS only." It elaborates that if Detroit firefighters are sent on runs to Hamtramck or Highland Park, Detroit EMS should also be sent on standby.

"That memo is related to an incident that occurred in October, where a firefighter was injured fighting a fire in Highland Park," Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said. "There were some questions as to his treatment when he arrived at the hospital by Rapid Response."

Jones claims the email was in response to an incident which was soon after resolved and the memo, revoked. He did not go into detail on why the contracted company Rapid Response EMTs weren't eliminated.

FOX 2: "Can you go into detail on how this matter was resolved?"

"No, I cannot," Jones said.

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Rapid Response is the same emergency medical response service which arrived at the scene Sunday of a shot Detroit police officer, but is under scrutiny by DPD for taking the officer to Beaumont in Dearborn.

That hospital is a Level 2 trauma center located seven miles away from the scene - instead of taking him to Level 1 Henry Ford or Level 2 Sinai Grace, a closer drive by a couple of miles.

"If a police officer, a firefighter, or EMT is critically wounded, injured in any manner, we are going to send the closest available medical resource, period," Jones said. 

Jones denies Detroit EMS is preferred for firefighters in life or death cases - despite what is stated in the email.

FOX 2: "Is there a preference?"

"There is no preference," Jones said. "Our preference is to get the nearest medical resource there and to get that injured first responder to the hospital as safely, quickly as possible."

He also defends the decision to take officer Johnson to Beaumont, because he says the route was mostly freeway.

Police Chief James Craig said earlier on Tuesday that the matter is under investigation. Craig also added that if this company is not good enough to transport firefighters, it's not good enough to transport police.

A spokesperson with Mayor Mike Duggan's office said it had nothing to add to what Jones has said.

One of the questions FOX 2 asked was whether any other firefighters have been transported by Rapid Response since the time the memo was said to be revoked, but are still awaiting that answer.
 

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