Fire commissioner responds to questions why DPD officer was taken to farther hospital

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A Detroit police officer remains in critical condition tonight after being shot in the head.

The suspect is dead but now police are investigating why an ambulance rushed the officer to a Dearborn hospital instead of hospitals much closer -- in Detroit.

"They did everything within their power to get him there," Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said.

Jones responded to concerns Tuesday that Rapid Response EMS - a private ambulance service - picked the wrong hospital when transporting Officer Johnson to Beaumont in Dearborn Sunday after he had been shot in the head.

The night after the officer had been shot in the head, Beaumont is a Level 2 trauma center and seven miles away from the scene - but Level 2 Sinai Grace and Level 1 Henry Ford are closer by a couple of miles.

"I'm troubled by this - as I begin to learn more, I become more and more troubled," said Chief James Craig. "A Level 1 facility Henry Ford was closer - and they specialize in neurosurgery."

Craig is concerned protocol wasn't followed when seconds count.

"The protocol is to go to the nearest verified and designated trauma center," said Dr. Robert Dunne, medical director of Detroit East Medical Control Authority. "Certainly when you look at the location it does not appear as though they went to the nearest trauma center."

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But Fire Commissioner Jones says that EMT with Rapid Response - a 20 year veteran - made a judgment call in a stressful situation.

"The EMT that conveyed made a judgment call and his judgment was that by utilizing Oakwood he would have more freeway travel time," Jones said. "That's what he did. He wanted to get the officer to the hospital the fastest manner as possible.

"They got Officer Johnson to the hospital in 10 minutes."

Rapid Response says it was more like eight minutes - and Jones says that EMS run to Oakwood would normally take 13 to 16 minutes, to Henry Ford 11 or 12 minutes and 13 to 15 minutes to Sinai Grace.

Jones supports the split second decision that was made.

"Those EMTs from Rapid Response, they did everything within their power to save that officer," Jones said. "Their judgment was that the best hospital to go to at that time, was (Beaumont) Oakwood, because of the freeway travel. It is a judgment that the driver of that rig made. I'm not going to second guess him."

Jones said he wishes the best for Officer Johnson and his family. He said he has spoken to Craig as well as the president of the Detroit Police Officers Association adding they are on the same page.

Rapid Response is standing behind their driver.