Firefighters Rush Girl to Hospital, Get Punished

They used their fire engine, which is against the rules
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2016 4:20 PM CST
Updated Mar 7, 2016 12:11 AM CST
Firefighters Rush Girl to Hospital, Get Suspended
A firefighter stands on the scene of an emergency in Virginia.   (Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Two volunteer firefighters are on administrative leave after driving an 18-month-old girl to the hospital for urgent medical care in their fire engine, Fox 5 DC reports. Capt. James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom, who volunteer in Fredericksburg, Va., found the girl partly paralyzed and were told she had just suffered a seizure. Worse, the nearest medic was apparently 15 minutes away and a second call for a medic solicited a vague answer—"southbound on Route 1"—about its location, says Kelley. "Considering all the factors ... I felt it was in the patient's best interest to transport immediately," says Kelley, per a press release issued by his fire department. The girl's father, Brian Nunamaker, says it all began on the morning of Feb. 27, when his little girl had a seizure in the car and he pulled up near a McDonald's and called 911.

"As a parent, you feel extremely helpless to be unable to assist the most important person in the world (your child) during such a time of emergency," he says in an email. The firefighters came "quickly," he adds, and found his daughter limp with a pulse; she was also blue from her head to her chest, Kelley tells the Free Lance-Star. The firefighters administered oxygen and drove her to a hospital, where she was transferred to VCU and eventually discharged in good health. "The neurologists at VCU explained that timing is extremely important when reacting to seizures," the father says. But Bloom and Kelley were suspended because their fire engine is considered a "non-transport unit" and lacks medications and restraints. "I would not hesitate, I would do the exact same thing 100% 10 times out of 10," Kelley tells WUSA. A fire official declined to comment while the matter is under review. (In another case, four firefighters went on an arson spree.)

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