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Denver EMS agency’s response to girl, 11, who later died under investigation

Denver Health Paramedics’ response, transport time and decisions are under scrutiny following the death of 11-year-old Aundrea Plunkett



By Leila Merrill

DENVER — The city’s deputy mayor and executive director of public safety is calling for an official review of Denver Health Paramedics’ emergency response to a severely injured girl in 2016, Denver7 reported.

Aundrea Plunkett, 11, died four days after being struck by an SUV while riding a bike near her home in Sheridan on May 22, 2016.

Denver Health paramedics transported the girl to Denver Health even though Swedish Medical Center was closer. That trip took more than 17 minutes.

Hospital reports and body camera video reviewed by Denver7 Investigates show that the response time for the ambulance and paramedics was 10 minutes and 16 seconds, which was not in compliance with national response standards. Those require paramedics to be on the scene in 8 minutes, 59 seconds or less.

“I will pledge to Aundrea and every other person in the City and County of Denver that I will be reviewing this incident,” said Murphy Robinson, Denver’s deputy mayor. “I will be reviewing and making sure that we have paid close attention to how we respond, but also making sure that when we find instances where there can be improvements, I will make those improvements.”

Aundrea Plunkett’s mother, Leah Plunkett, spoke with Denver7 in late September.

“Two humans made bad decisions that day that took a child from this world,” Leah Plunkett said. “Why did they travel so far with her? Why?”

Local paramedics discussed the incident anonymously with Denver7 Investigates. They all said that pressure from upper managers push paramedics to make decisions to bypass closer hospitals and return patients to Denver Health.

“If a transport a patient to Denver Health, no matter what the outcome is, I won’t get second guessed by the medical director,” one paramedic previously said. “If I transport to another facility, it will be scrutinized and reviewed a lot closer.”