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Milwaukee officials hold ambulance contracts, push for policy change after patient’s death

Milwaukee aldermen are requesting ambulance companies make it a policy to get out of the rig and look for patients

By Bill Carey

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Common Council voted to pause the renewal of city contracts with private ambulance companies following an incident where an ambulance crew did not get out of their ambulance to look for a patient who later died in freezing weather.

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On Jan. 15, Jolene Waldref called 911 after falling outside and hitting her head on a fence, WISN 12 News reported.

Surveillance video showed a Curtis Ambulance drive past Waldref twice. The crew claimed they did not see her, but never got out of their ambulance to look for her.

Waldref was found dead about 20 minutes later after a person noticed her and called 911.

[Poll: How long should you look for a patient you can’t locate?]

“What I saw and what I read, it was unacceptable,” Alderman Russell Stamper said. “For us to have an opportunity to bring them to the table and get this policy corrected, make sure they get out and look around and check for people who may be dying, needs to be clear stated and in writing.”

A council resolution urges ambulance crews to get out of their ambulance when they cannot find a patient and to improve the response for patients in extreme weather conditions.