FDNY medics accused of falsifying PCR for man with DNR order

An elderly woman couldn’t find her dying husband’s DNR paperwork, and the medics were charged with reporting care they did not provide

NEW YORK — Two FDNY paramedics were arrested after accusations that they did not provide proper treatment to an elderly man whose wife could not find his do not resuscitate request, then falsified the patient care report to make it appear that they rendered care that didn’t actually occur.

Daniel Ornstein, 33, and Joseph Farrell, 39, responded on July 12, 2014, to a call for a 71-year-old man with Lou Gehrig’s disease who was having difficulty breathing, silive.com reports. 

When they arrived the man was in cardiac arrest and they began CPR, but were told by the man’s wife that he had a “do not resuscitate” order. She couldn’t find the paperwork but the paramedics followed her wishes to stop resuscitation, violating procedure, and the man died, officials say.

In their paperwork on the call, the paramedics reported that Farrell inserted an endotracheal tube, and Ornstein administered intravenous medications. A criminal complaint against them claims those procedures never happened.

A supervisor who later arrived on scene reviewed their report, and questioned them on their treatment.

“They admitted to it,” an anonymous source told silive.com, saying the paramedics sympathized with the wife. The supervisor reported the discrepancies in the report, which led to an investigation, and ultimately the arrests of Ornstein and Farrell. Both men are charged with offering a false instrument for filing, and falsifying business records. They face up to four years in prison if convicted.

They were arraigned at Staten Island Criminal Court, released on their own recognizance, and suspended by FDNY.

In a statement, George Burbano, an executive board member of Local 2507, which represents the FDNY's EMTs and paramedics, said:

"We understand that two of our paramedics have been charged by the Department of Investigation. We believe that these two paramedics did not act in any ill manner or out of personal gain, but rather were driven by compassion to the patient who was terminally ill, and his wife, who was suffering watching him die, and that in the process, the Department of Investigation is accusing them of deviating from department procedure."

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