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Bill For Late Ambulance Sparks Outrage, Questions Of Racism

Bill For Late Ambulance Sparks Outrage, Questions Of Racism

A bill for a late ambulance is sparking outrage after a Washington, D.C., department failed to reach a dying 71-year-old man in time but still felt it appropriate to charge the late man’s son.

The man, Durand Ford Jr., said he got a $780 bill from the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Service Department, NBCWashington.com reported. The only problem was that the ambulance was late when Ford called on January 1, taking more than 30 minutes to arrive. During that time his father, Durand Ford Sr., died.

Ford Jr. has expressed outrage, calling on D.C. lawmakers to investigate what happened.

“And I’m disturbed that we even received this bill. … My sister and I are still grieving about the situation. [We’re] very angry about what happened and the service we did not receive from the district.” Ford Jr. said.

He’s not the only one outraged by the bill for the late ambulance. A headline from the New York Daily News shouted “Outrageous,” while on internet forums people debated whether race placed a role in the ambulance’s slow response. (Ford is black and lives in a predominantly black neighborhood.)

Others took the bill for the late ambulance as an example for not only the failures of the health care system but the unnecessary and bloated costs it imposes on average Americans.

Ford Sr. died close to two weeks before his 72nd birthday. He was an Air Force veteran and worked as an “advisory neighborhood commissioner” in his local Ward in D.C.

The bill for the late ambulance is not the first scandal for D.C. Fire and EMS, Fox News noted. In August, the service came under fire for delaying the transportation of a 93-year-old woman who suffered a head injury.

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Comments

41 Responses to “Bill For Late Ambulance Sparks Outrage, Questions Of Racism”

  1. Dima Sammour

    It's terrible to hear about someone waiting for help from a trusted source and not getting it. Plus, in these emergency situations every minute feels like an hour. I can't imagine how thirty minutes felt. :( RIP

  2. Anonymous

    Calling 911 isn't a guaranteed life saver. Saying they shouldn't have to pay because he died is meaningless and contrary to logic. What is "late" when an emergency is underway? If they got there "in time" but he still died–would the decedents family be on the hook for the bill? Also, I don't know HOW this is racist, but the race card calling members of society should be ashamed of themselves–even more than normal this time.

  3. Allen F. Sullivan

    Playing the race card is BS! D.C.'s population is over 80 percent black! Now the slow service is another matter. D.C. rescue is under staffed and equiptment poor. Charging for poor service is the pits and in poor taste!

  4. Anonymous

    Instead of calling racism, How about just saying, he was 71, he lived a long and good life.

  5. Dane Williams

    On average in Washington DC, it takes a crew on a regular call, 124 seconds just to get to the rig. That in itself is unbelievable. I full 2 minutes just to get to the ambulance. How many lives does that take away?

  6. Kellie Arrowood

    My husband died in a horrible motorcycle accident, when a woman pulled out in front of him. My local ambulance service thought it necessary to send me a detailed report of all of his injuries.

  7. Thomas DeFeo

    This is NOT racism, as I live in DC and the EMS people were most likely Black. And let us not forget the fact that this is DC, where Public Service is neither.

  8. Pamela Stevens

    "thecrookfromthebrook" is right! It's not a "Race" thing! It's a matter of maybe they should have called sooner! Pay the bill or submit it to his insurance! Services rendered!

  9. Amanda Parker

    You are all idiots. I'm an EMT and 30 for a code 3 is WAY too long. It should b under 7 minutes. Enough said. You guys wouldn't be saying it's okay if it took 30 minutes to get to your daughter or son or mother or father. So if your family member gets shot and they take 30 minutes to get to your family member and they die, don't bitch

  10. Joey Adams

    You put Late in quotation marks ? 30 mins to respond is late no matter how you cut if . You seem to be one of those people would would see a cross burning on someone lawn and complain if people used the "race card" in that situation.

  11. Anonymous

    Obamacare has not even gone through yet. Politics- which by the way congress has to pass things, it is not one man going yes this is what I want. Ambulances have always charged an insane amount. My nephew had to go to the ER by ambulance and his bill was $600 and he was unconscious and not breathing correctly .However it did not take 30 mins, it took about 5-10mins for their arrival. In reference to the time it took it has been a while since I have been in DC you may also need to blame the drivers on the road who do not move and let me tell you they honestly do not move. I have been in the ambulance front seat and seen the guy beeping and beeping and they take their sweet A** time moving. So the traffic compared to DC and NC is completely different so this may have taking part as to the time delay and prob they may be under staff

  12. Anonymous

    Obamacare has not even gone through yet. Politics- which by the way congress has to pass things, it is not one man going yes this is what I want. Ambulances have always charged an insane amount. My nephew had to go to the ER by ambulance and his bill was $600 and he was unconscious and not breathing correctly .However it did not take 30 mins, it took about 5-10mins for their arrival. In reference to the time it took it has been a while since I have been in DC you may also need to blame the drivers on the road who do not move and let me tell you they honestly do not move. I have been in the ambulance front seat and seen the guy beeping and beeping and they take their sweet A** time moving. So the traffic compared to DC and NC is completely different so this may have taking part as to the time delay and prob they may be under staff

  13. Anonymous

    It isn't a race issue, the same thing happened to my father in West Virginia in 1989.It took them an hour to get there and the ambulance broke down on the way to the emergengy room.The heart attack done so much damage from not getting there on time that he died.My mother got a bill for 795.00 a month later.My father was American Indian and white.She paid the bill.

  14. Gena Reynoldson

    We are a society of "speed". Hurry up and get there, hurry up and get well, hurry up and get back here, hurry, hurry, hurry. Society has to stop and think. Everything takes time. There doesn't always have to be someone or something to blame. This man didn't die because the ambulance didn't get there soon enough. He died because that is what his condition dictated. Sure we're sad and we need to grieve, but don't start looking for someone or something to blame for everything. The ambulance was called to the scene in good faith. They arrived when they arrived. There's no such thing as "not arriving on time"! There is NO set time frame for an ambulance to arrive. An ambulance is subjected to the distance, to the traffic, to the weather conditions, to breaking down, to blowing a tire, to slowing down for construction, to stopping for train traffic, etc., etc. Is the family responsible for the ambulance bill? I would suggest contacting the ambulance company to see if 1/2 price would be sufficient. They did come in good faith. The deceased did not need transporting by the ambulance in the end.

  15. Thomas Blahzooe

    Joey Adams Now I can reply: Joey, Washington D.C. otherwise known as Chocolate City is a very diverse part of the country. I seriousely dout this ambulance was late and yes it was, but I doubt because of anything due to his skin color. If equality is really what you strive for, stop playing the race card for everything. Ever here of the boy (no racial undertone intended) who cried wolf too much?..COME ON MAN

  16. Thomas Blahzooe

    Thomas DeFeo Who cares,,,blindly blamming this on race w/o any proof is childish….Im sure ambulances have been late for every race at some point…Just people looking to play the race card..WHAAAA

  17. Michael Norell

    Joey, is it racism when Black Panthers refuse entry to the polls for white voters and the black attorney general refuses to even investigate or is it only racism if a black member of society is the victim.

  18. Mary Corbett

    Thank you for stating that. Most of the comments are crazy and uneducated. Research before you post. Hate to see you when one of your family member need 911 services and it takes 30 minutes to get it.

  19. Trista Painter

    He put late in quotations because "late" cannot be measured. Late to one person may not be late to another. However 30 minutes is a long time

  20. Dale McCrory

    It's evident what happened,, the man died,, and would have probably died even if they had got there in 15 minutes,, then you would be raising hell about something else,, you really think the ambulance knew what color your dad was,, I don't think so,, why don't you cry racism every time the wind blows, you have your messiah the imbecile in chief,, what more do you want? duh!

  21. Flip Heilig

    As a former EMT and Ambulance service owner, I know that Medicare pays for the ambulance trip to the patient, even if the patient expires before their arrival. The problem is that this happened on Jan 1st and he'd probably not met his deductable, yet. Medicare probably okayed the claim but didn't pay due to the deductable factor not being met. With that being said, the ambulance billed the Patient (ie: patient's estate). Whether his death was caused by the late ambulance is another matter.

  22. Anonymous

    Pay up neegears, you used the service. Just exactly what did you expect.

  23. Mark Pendleton

    In the word of 2 live crew get up get down, 911 IS A JOKE IN YOUR TOWN.

  24. Gary Jacobs

    How many other calls for service were out in the area. When the closest ambulance is sent on a run then the next closest has to respond. How far away were they coming from? What were road conditions like? There are a lot of factors that play into a response time for an ambulance. Thirty minutes does seem long but were the other factors that played into it. How long did the family wait to call for help? Unfortunately a lot of people wait till the last second to call and then it is too late. They also need to keep in mind the person or company that does the billing usually has no knowledge of the outcome of each run. They just send the bills.

  25. Richard Theodore Bromley III

    Race card played as usual….who do those people think they are fool'n….that's right I said "those ppl" ha!

  26. Alex Erwin

    Why receive a bill for service not rendered? If they ambulance did not transport a person and did not treat said person then it stands to reason, the deceased's family should not receive a bill. If they are charging for making sure someone is indeed deceased, then why $781? It takes 30 seconds to determine this and how much gas is really expended in a city that is pretty small in comparison to others. 30 minutes is excessive in a city so small (68 square miles blocked by rivers) and when you further decrease it to a quadrant, 30 minutes is far too much.

    Also someone needs to pull out some stats before they post on the number of blacks there are actually in DC now. It never has been 99% black, nor will it ever be. Georgetown, Dupont Circle, K Street, and etc are pretty much out of the park of most of the black residents.

    Most of the fire and ems positions in the city are not minorities. Lots of workers from Prince Georges, Montgomery, and Fairfax counties are hired into those positions. It may have changed recently; however, as I recall, there a no residency requirements for certain city positions.

  27. Stephen Dickens

    See in Britain, they'll tell you that ya dead for free….. and sometimes they'll put you in the morgue even if ya not dead…. Still free though, gotta love the NHS…..

  28. Anonymous

    Well we don't have the whole picture. You are assuming the ambulance simply drove away after it got on scene but i have never heard of that happening. The crew most likely took the patient to hospital where the official declaration of death is made by a physician and they quite possibly attempted resuscitation on route. There is not enough information given in this article about the situation. I am not justifying that it took 30 minutes to reach the patient, that is obviously unacceptable, but the claims of racism or services not rendered are baseless from the information provided

  29. Cheryl Court Quimby

    Whatever the circumstances, the man died, no service was rendered, no one should be billed. Period. I believe these companies should have to eat the cost of sending out a vehicle if service was not used (because sometimes that happens, and it's the right thing to do).

  30. Alex Erwin

    I agree to franchj6195. Racism is too overplayed when something goes wrong. The real issue is why it took over 30 minutes. It is true that a physician would have to declare death, but that does not go with the ambulance bill. We do not know enough information…. but one thought I will say is if this gentleman lived in Southeast DC near the Anacostia River and there is a pattern of this…. they could say it was racism.