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One of two Warwick firefighters involved in patient death incident has EMT license reinstated

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – The state has reinstated the Emergency Medical Technician Cardiac license of one of two Warwick firefighters involved in an incident where a patient they declined to transport to the hospital later died.

Firefighter Brandon Colombo’s EMT-C license was reinstated last week after the R.I. Department of Health signed off on a consent order that put Colombo on probation for one year and required him to undergo further training.

The other firefighter, Michael Monteiro, still has his EMT-C license suspended pending the outcome of a hearing or striking an agreement with the Health Department.

According to the original suspension issued in March, Colombo and Monteiro were called to a residence for a 44-year-old woman suffering from an unknown medical incident. Despite being told the woman had likely experienced a seizure and was not fully conscious, she was not transported to the hospital. The woman was later driven to Kent Hospital by a friend where doctors discovered she was suffering from a cardiac episode.

“After various life-saving attempts, she died at 2:20 p.m.,” according to the report.

The state found three violations of Rhode Island Statewide EMS Protocols, and four EMS rules, including “gross negligence in providing medical care.”

The consent order – signed June 22 – said, upon further investigation, Colombo “did not have direct contact” with the patient, and Monteiro “acted as the primary for this call.” The order said that Monteiro made the decision not to transport the victim, but said Colombo “did not voice or otherwise indicate any objection to his partner’s conclusion or advice, nor did he memorialize any such objection on the record.”

Colombo was placed on probation for one year (dating back to the March license suspension) and must complete continuing education courses at the Warwick Fire Department covering EMS rules, protocols, and training on treating responding to suspected seizures.

A call to the firefighter union’s attorney, Elizabeth Wiens, was not immediately returned. But she previously told 12 News her clients denied any wrongdoing and expressed concern that they were not interviewed by investigators when the original complaint was filed.

A summary suspension of an EMT-C license is rare. The Health Department’s website shows only one other firefighter has had that disciplinary action taken against them in the past five years.

Both firefighters remained on the job following the license suspension, but were not allowed to work on a rescue, according to union president Michael Carreiro.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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