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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SFFD: Lack Of #EMT's And #EMS Equipment Leaves Firefighters Appalled

SFFD Official: No Marathon Race Staffer Helped Dying Man

SAN FRANCISCO — No emergency medical worker associated with a half marathon held in Golden Gate Park on Sunday attended to a dying runner during the 22 minutes it took for a city ambulance to reach him, a Fire Department official said Tuesday.

Peter Hass of Orinda
died after collapsing at the end
of a half marathon in Golden Gate Park.
Peter Hass of Orinda, 36, died at the end of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon and 5K run, which attracted 10,000 people.

Hass collapsed near the finish line after running the half marathon in just under two hours. Bystanders, including three city firefighters who also ran in the race, tried to resuscitate him as they waited for proper life-saving equipment and emergency transportation to arrive, said Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman for the Fire Department.

The firefighters were "appalled" that the event had no medical staff or basic equipment available near the finish line on South Fork Drive at the west end of the park, Talmadge said.

"Everybody who assisted on the resuscitation effort identified themselves," Talmadge said. "Not one person identified themselves as being part of the event medical team at any point. ... Our members were left reeling from the experience."

Dave Rhody, head of RhodyCo Productions, which produced the event, said Monday that emergency medical technicians based at two tents near the finish line had arrived at the scene and tried to help Hass within five minutes of his collapse. He acknowledged, however, that the event's only hired ambulance had been diverted to another part of the course to help another runner.

A secretary at RhodyCo said Tuesday that Rhody was unavailable for comment.

The incident prompted the city's Department of Emergency Management to open an investigation into whether RhodyCo had met the required medical needs for a large athletic event.

Rob Dudgeon, a deputy director with the agency, said most producers of such events have backup ambulances on hand in case more than one participant is stricken. It does not appear RhodyCo had a second ambulance nearby, he said.

He added, however, that the city does not require that backup ambulances be available.
It took a city Fire Department ambulance 22 minutes to reach Hass, about five times longer than the usual response time, Talmadge said.

She said a combination of incorrect locations from callers and street closures caused by the event led to the delay.

Source Article: San Francisco Chronicle - Link

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