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Firefighters in the District had to use a ladder truck to take a sick toddler to the hospital Saturday night when they were told the nearest ambulance was at least five miles away.
The child was having a seizure and the men on the truck did not want to wait. It is a decision that has left the boy’s parents both pleased and perturbed.
Derrick and Denise Jones are praising the actions of the firefighters who came to their Northeast D.C. home Saturday night to care for their sick toddler, but they are confounded by the fact an ambulance was not there when they needed one.
Denise Jones rode to the hospital in the truck with her child and now she wants to know why.
Little Derrick is doing fine Monday — fully recovered from a viral infection that launched him into a scary seizure Saturday night.
“I saw my son foaming at the mouth real heavy,” said Derrick Jones in an interview Monday. “It was pouring down rain. There was a lot of foam around his mouth and his eyes rolled into the back of his head.”
Father and son were in the car and Derrick Sr. headed right for home where he found his wife and called 911.
“When I came out, he was upset,” said Denise Jones, the toddler’s mother. “Everybody was trying to calm him down. I was calm and I opened the door and looked at him and he was just looking out in the distance and I called his name and he wouldn’t look at me and I shook him and it was like a blank stare on his face.”
Called to the scene were firefighters on Truck 13 who went right to work.
But when they heard how long it would take for an ambulance to arrive, the firefighters took the child in their arms and told mom to get on board.
“So I was like, wow, we are going to have to go on a fire truck,” said Denise. “There is a seat in the middle, so he is in the middle, the firemen are on the side, and I was in a seat across the them and they were tending to him and calling his name and trying to see if he would focus.”
And off they went to Children’s Hospital where 2-year-old Derrick was treated for about four hours and released.
With time now to think about it, Derrick and Denise Jones have nothing but praise for the firefighters, but are bewildered by the need to go in a truck.
“That is crazy,” said the toddler’s dad. “I felt helpless. I thought when you asked for medical help, they sent an ambulance. You know, I felt very helpless.”
The couple says they have been following the ongoing troubles of D.C. Fire and EMS, but to experience firsthand was a shock.
“You pay your city taxes and you are not getting services, especially in an emergency,” said Denise Jones.
“I felt very helpless,” said Derrick Jones. “I was scared for my son. I thought he was going to die. Yeah, we were really scared. I was very upset. If you had seen me, you would say he was very upset. It scared me to death. I never experienced anything like that with him.”
Denise Jones was so shaken by the entire experience that she stayed home from work Monday to be with her son.
This is not the first time a patient has been taken to a hospital in the District on a fire truck.
There have been other recent high profile incidents as well.
It is a judgment call by the firefighters on board.
D.C. Fire and EMS released this statement to FOX 5:
“The closest transport units available at the time of dispatch were identified because the others were already on emergency calls. The department commends the quick action taken by the members of Truck 13 who recognized the need to transport immediately.”