Infant dies at Midtown Medical after being transported in fire truck

The Medical Center
The Medical Center Ledger-Enquirer file photo

A 4-month-old girl was pronounced dead at Midtown Medical Center late Wednesday afternoon after first responders rushed her to the hospital in a Columbus Fire and EMS fire truck because an ambulance was not immediately available.

The 911 call for help came from an apartment on Forest Avenue at 5:13 p.m., Columbus Police Maj. Stan Swiney said on Thursday. The caller reported that an infant was in cardiac distress, according to a statement from the Columbus Fire and EMS.

There were no ambulances available because they were on other calls, so a fire engine was dispatched at 5:14 p.m. from the nearby Brown Avenue station. The Brown Avenue ladder truck self dispatched because they were potentially closer to the address, according to the Columbus Fire and EMS statement.

A private ambulance was dispatched from 6001 Coca Cola Blvd., about 10 minutes away in north Columbus at 5:17 p.m.

The engine and the ladder truck both arrived at the apartment at 5:18 p.m., four minutes after the dispatch and five minutes after the call. First responders, all either EMTs or paramedics, began performing CPR on the child.

The crews were on the scene less than two minutes before putting the child in the fire engine with two paramedics and transporting her to the hospital, according to the statement.

Columbus Fire & EMS Assistant Chief Robert Futrell said it was extremely rare for a patient to be transported on a fire truck.

“This is one of those cases where the crew did what it thought was in the best interest of the patient,” Futrell said.

The infant arrived at Midtown Medical Center at 5:23 p.m., according to Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan. The girl was pronounced dead by a physician at 5:45 p.m. in the pediatric emergency room, Bryan said.

The cause of death has not been determined and the body will be transported to Decatur to the state crime lab for an autopsy, Bryan said. State law requires an autopsy on anyone under 17 years old.

“No cause of death can be determined until the medical exam is complete,” Bryan said on Thursday.

The father had put the baby down for a nap about 3:30 p.m., according to the coroner. The mother came home and went to get the baby, rolled her over, found her unresponsive and called 911 and began CPR, Bryan said.

The Columbus Police Department has begun a death investigation, which is a customary procedure in this type of situation, Maj. Gil Slouchick said. Investigators are awaiting the autopsy report, Slouchick said.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams