Ski crash probe looks into widow's allegations of shoddy care

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — The authority in charge of ambulance and paramedic services in Maine has cleared a paramedic and an emergency medical technician of wrongdoing in the emergency care a Nova Scotia man received after a skiing accident at Sugarloaf resort.

"This doesn’t conclude the investigation; it only takes action with regard to these two people," Jay Bradshaw, director of Maine Emergency Medical Services, said.

David Morse, 41, of Harmony, died Jan. 12 in an ambulance on his way to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine. He sustained chest injuries after losing control on his skis while skiing and hitting a tree at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley.

Maine Emergency Medical Services is continuing its formal investigation into the actions of other NorthStar Ambulance personnel in connection to the case, Bradshaw said Monday.

The two workers cleared in the investigation last week were not involved in Morse’s care.

"Those two providers were people who were listed on the run report but really didn’t even arrive on the scene until the end of the call. They did not participate in patient care at all," Bradshaw said. "They were called for assistance but by the time they got to the ambulance the call had ended. . . . Care had been terminated."

Bradshaw said he could not provide further details and said he is not at liberty to say how many personnel are being investigated.

"I can’t go into the details of the investigation, other than to let you know this doesn’t conclude the investigation."

Morse’s widow, Dana, a nurse practitioner, has alleged her husband received inadequate treatment from paramedics and that the ambulance driver left her on the side of the road on the way to the hospital after she asked him to pull over so she could move into the back with her husband.

She later drove to Franklin Memorial Hospital to learn that medical personnel there had no information about her husband or the mishap. She discovered that the ambulance had driven her husband back to the medical clinic at the ski resort.

Morse died of chest trauma, according to the Office of Medical Examiner in Augusta, Maine. His death has been ruled accidental.

Bradshaw could not say when the agency is expected to complete is investigation.

"The details of the investigation are confidential by statute until action has been taken (and a) decision has been made.

"At that point, some of the information will become public."

Franklin Memorial Hospital, which operates NorthStar Ambulance, is carrying out its own investigation into the events of Jan. 12.

"The investigation is ongoing. We are waiting for (Maine Emergency Medical Services) to conclude their investigation, then we’ll make a comment," Jill Gray, a hospital spokeswoman, said Monday.

The ambulance personnel who responded to the call that day are still on staff, she said.

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Comments

Licia Kuenning's picture

What is taking so long?

It's hard to believe that nearly two months after the incident the investigators have not been able to learn anything beyond "clearing" two people who weren't involved. Are they afraid of offending FMH? Trying to come up with a whitewash and not succeeding? Or what?

Evan McIntire's picture

MEMS

Investigation dragging it's feet?

"At that point, SOME of the information will become public."
You've got to be kidding me!

William Burke's picture

sking

SKING IS GETTING DANGEROUS. HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIED AT SKI LODGES THE LAST 5 YEARS. I AM SURPRIZED SOME DO GOODER HAS NOT TRIED TO SHUT SUGARLOAF DOWN

Bob Woodbury's picture

First, Mr. Burke...

...don't yell at me. I don't believe I've ever done anything to offend you. Second, let's assume the gentleman in question is an excellent skier and would not have skied in excess of his prowess. Why we would do that, I don't know. But let's, just for the sake of argument. So why did he lose control and ski into a tree? Perhaps he had a medical condition (heart attack, stroke, etc) and skied off the trail. Perhaps he had been drinking and his skiing thought processes were impaired. As for his wife, from what printed articles have said, perhaps her yelling and screaming at the paramedics in the van (she is, after all, a professional trying to educate what are apparently non-professionals according to her - what did she say - she's a nurse practitioner - was a distraction to good driving habits and she was let out of the vehicle, thus solving the distraction problem. All of this speculation needs to be addressed, calmly and professionally, and that takes time. I know you're in a hurry, Mr. Burke. Everyone is, nowadays. That's why they exceed speed limits, don't stop at stop signs, go in the out door, go up the down aisle. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Fairness takes a little longer.

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