Collier ambulance delayed because radio didn't work, crew vacuuming
NAPLES, Fla. - A Fox 4 investigation into the death of a Collier County man uncovered documents showing emergency officials failed to follow proper procedures.
Sixteen days after we began asking questions on behalf of the Minard family after their son died in December, Collier County EMS officials are finally breaking their silence.
A Fox 4 investigation discovered an ambulance crew waited 5-6 minutes after being dispatched before leaving the station. Documents show the county didn't follow proper procedure and there are ongoing problems with the dispatch system meant to save your life.
Collier County EMS quietly wrapped up its internal investigation into what happened. But they don't want you to know what they found claiming the report can stay secret under Florida law.
But we got our hands on documents showing repeated problems with the radio system that EMT's didn't appear to be listening to in the first place.
"Do you think if the ambulance would have got here quicker that your son's life could have been saved?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"Yeah I believe so," said Charles Minard. "Maybe he wouldn't be 100 percent but I believe he would be here."
Minard was promised answers after his son died last December. But nearly two months later the Minard's are in the dark so we did our own digging.
Fox 4 discovered a series of failures resulted in medic crews not leaving the station until 5-6 minutes after they were dispatched.
Medic Station 42, which is 3.5 miles away from the Minard's home, was dispatched at 11:04 a.m. on Dec. 14.
But EMT's never got the call.
According to documents we obtained through a public records request the "station received no (radio) tones...and no information" through their handheld tablets. Documents show the crew also might not have been paying attention because they were "in separate areas of the station cleaning and running the vacuum."
In one email, a battalion chief writes: "Medic 42 did not respond on the radio for the dispatch. I contacted them via...phone to notify them of them of the emergency call."
According to the county's handbook, a follow up call is required to be made "within two minutes" if an ambulance crew doesn't respond to dispatch. But we discovered the county didn't follow its own procedures - waiting four minutes - to check in after the crew failed to respond.
And we discovered problems with ambulance crews receiving radio dispatches occurred on Dec. 12, two days before the Minard's called 911. We discovered there were also problems reported with radio tones on Feb. 3. Four different medic stations reported problems with their radios and at least three had to be notified of emergencies by landline.
In a statement, Collier County EMS finally responded to our investigation telling us they are "conducting a thorough review of the events" and are "committed to maintaining a system that is focused on safe, efficient and quality care."
But that's not good enough for the Minard's who say it shouldn't take Fox 4 making public records requests for their family to find answers.
"I still don't have any answers," said Minard. "I have a dead son and no answers."