Investigation Raises New Questions in 2-Year-Old's Death

SE toddler died the day after first 911 call

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Stephanie Stephens

    It was 5 o'clock on a snowy morning in February when 2-year-old Stephanie Stephens had trouble breathing and her family called 911 for help.

    The little girl was not taken to the hospital at that time.

    The next day she was dead.

    D.C. Fire and EMS is now conducting an investigation. There are conflicting reports that the medical unit may have arrived at the apartment as many as two minutes after a fire engine. The paramedic and EMT from the ambulance reportedly advised the family to help the child's congestion by running a hot shower and left.

    Toddler's Death Raises Questions for DC Paramedics

    [DC] Toddler's Death Raises Questions for DC Paramedics
    D.C. Fire & EMS officials are investigating the death of a 2-year-old in southeast Washington, who died after first responders reportedly told the parents to treat the child's breathing problems with a hot shower instead of taking her to the hospital.

    About nine hours later, the child's mother summoned another ambulance, which took Stephanie to Children's National Medical Center where she died the next morning.

    The Computer Aided Dispatch provides a timeline when units arrived at the scene, said the president of the union that represents D.C.'s civilian paramedics and EMTs.

    "I haven't really had a chance to look at it, but what I'm hearing is that it had the engine company marking on the scene two minutes before the ambulance arrived, and if indeed that is what happened, I think we have to find out what happened in that two minutes span of time," Kenneth Lyons said. "Each provider has a responsibility, and it's important to know whether or not those individuals fulfilled those responsibilities with respect to the care that was being provided."

    DC Fire and EMS is conducting an investigation, which includes an analysis of the CAD timeline.

    "At this point, I think there was some question as to the CAD printout, which showed the on-scene time," Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said. "Others indicated that there was a minute or so difference in the arrival time of the engine and the medic unit. We had stated that the medic unit had patient contact, which is in fact true. The engine apparently was on the scene. We believe they arrived simultaneously or within moments of each other."

    So there is a conflict as to when the fire engine and ambulance arrived -- within moments of each other or as much as two minutes apart.

    If there was a delay, did it have any effect on the evaluation of 2-year-old Stephanie Stephens?