After car-crash fiasco, hospital releases video showing response

After drawing a flood of criticism for not responding quickly enough, an Oregon hospital seems to have engineered a public relations coup by releasing video of its emergency response to a car crash in its parking lot. Ultimately, Birgilio Marin-Fuentes, the 61-year-old driver who crashed, died of heart disease in the ED.

The story drew attention last week when a police officer called a hospital dispatcher at Portland Adventist Medical Center after a car crash that had taken place in the facility's parking lot, only to be told by the dispatcher that hospital staff would not come out because the patient needed to be brought in by ambulance. The news prompted people to wonder whether the hospital's emergency response was fast enough.

At a press briefing yesterday, hospital officials and police aimed to reframe the discussion of its emergency response to a man who died in the hospital's parking lot.

"Everything that could have been done and should have been done last week was done," Dr. Kelli Westcott, vice chair of emergency services at the hospital, said during the briefing, which was taped. She reviewed a timeline which shows that less than one minute after an officer entered the ED, a charge nurse sent a paramedic to the accident. In three minutes and 15 seconds, the paramedic was at the scene.

According to Reuters, the video shows that the hospital acted quickly.

The hospital received some help from Portland police chief Mike Reese, who initially criticized the response, the Columbian reports. After watching the surveillance footage and talking with hospital staff, "it seems clear the hospital was preparing a response to aid Mr. Fuentes," Reese said, according to KOIN.

Here is part of the timeline from Feb. 10 via the hospital briefing:

12:23 a.m.: Marin-Fuentes crashes into pillar in hospital garage. Then 22 minutes pass before someone notices.
12:45: A passerby report the accident to the police.
12:46: Police arrive by car.
12:47: Police call 911.
12:50: Police enter ED.
12:50: Charge nurse sends paramedic to accident.
12:51: CPR started by police.
12:53: Paramedic arrives at scene.
12:57: Attempts at resuscitation begin on the patient in the ER.
1:22: Code called.

To learn more:
- read the OPB News article
- here's the Reuters article
- see the KOIN article and video of the 38-minute press briefing, including footage (which starts at nine minutes in)
- read the Columbian's article
- here's the official police report (.pdf)