Ga. city declares ‘state of EMS emergency’ after assault on patient

Officials are seeking help from the state to figure out why DeKalb County did not hold AMR accountable for long response times


By EMS1 Staff

DUNWOODY, Ga. — City officials have declared a “state of EMS emergency” after an EMT assaulted a restrained teen patient in the back of an ambulance.

WSB-TV reported that the city of Dunwoody is accusing DeKalb County of not holding AMR responsible for delayed response times, and officials are asking the state for help.

The issue came to light after an AMR EMT was filmed by a police body cam repeatedly punching a 17-year-old patient.

“In the hands of a first responder who is charged with patient care punching the patient, it was just stunning. It was shocking. It was unbelievable,” city councilman Terry Nall said.

The patient had been picked up for a mental health evaluation, and police said he had been handcuffed and restrained after he walked out of the ambulance.

EMT Deannah Williams said she was trying to put a spit mask on the patient when he spit on her. She can then be seen on camera punching the teen in the face before being pulled out of the ambulance by Officer Kevin Lopez.

“Is he hurting? He’s bruising in the face, oh yeah, good grief. Did you take pictures? He’s got a goose egg,” another officer can be heard saying in the video.

Nall said this incident was the final straw for AMR.

“The Dunwoody City Council voted unanimously 7-0 to declare a 'state of EMS emergency' in Dunwoody. We are seeking state remedies and relief. We've been tracking and reporting AMR's failing DeKalb County EMS response times and patient care service since 2016, but to no corrective action by DeKalb County, who holds the EMS certificate and the contract with AMR. The area north of I-285 is the forgotten area of DeKalb County EMS/AMR."

 

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