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Fla. family alleges that EMS providers ignored DNR

Plant City Fire Rescue responded to a call at an assisted living facility and found that Celeste Salanitri had a weak pulse and shallow respiration


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By Leila Merrill

PLANT CITY, Fla. — Family members claim that EMS providers disobeyed a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order and caused Celeste Salanitri, 81, to suffer.

Tiffany Tergesen helped Salanitri, her cousin, obtain a DNR. Salanitri had end-stage Parkinson’s disease, ABC Action News reported Monday.

About a week after her doctor signed the DNR, the assisted living facility where Salanitri lived called 911 saying that she had fallen, was not conscious and had no pulse.

A Plant City Fire Rescue crew responded. A report states that the crew found that Salanitri had a weak pulse and shallow respiration.

While transporting her to a hospital, her heart and breathing stopped. They began CPR. The report states that they contacted the medical director, who told them to continue.

Plant City Fire Rescue Chief David Burnett told the TV station that the investigation is ongoing, and he had no further comment.

USF Healthcare Vice President Jay Wolfson described the physical impact of CPR.

“You’re gonna crack some ribs. You’re gonna possibly puncture a lung,” he said.

Salanitri was intubated, but Tergesen had the tube removed. According to her cousin’s living will, she did not want to be kept alive by artificial means.

She died 12 days later without regaining consciousness.

“My family had to sit beside a bed and watch someone slowly die because of that one decision to violate this DNR,” said Tergesen.