Cardiac patient dies after DC firefighters stop at wrong scene

Crews arrived to see police with what they presumed to be their patient on the ground; they saw the patient didn’t need medical care and went back to their station

WASHINGTON — A man suffering a heart attack died Sunday after D.C. firefighters stopped at the wrong location and returned to their station.

The Washington Post reported that Albert Jackson, 67, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after he arrived by a D.C. ambulance. The mix-up led to a delay of treatment by at least 20 minutes.

"We tried to revive him here," his wife, Gloria Jackson, said. "They tried to revive him at the hospital. I don’t know if getting him there faster would have made a difference or not."

The firefighters assigned to Truck 17 are based about 1.5 miles from the house where Jackson lived. Officials said when firefighters arrived on scene, they saw police with "what they presumed to be their patient on the ground," according to the report. When they saw the patient didn’t need medical care, they went back to the station.

The incident is the latest in a long series of errors and delays in response by D.C. Fire and EMS.

The fire department’s spokesman, Timothy Wilson, said the call is under internal investigation.

D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory M. Dean issued a statement Tuesday night offering condolences to the Jackson family.

"Going forward, the department will require units to repeat the address to the dispatcher upon their arrival at a scene to ensure they are at the correct location," he said.

He also said that the department and Office of Unified Communications "are working to incorporate clear language so that units have more information on the call they are being dispatched to," according to the report.

Edward Smith, president of the firefighters union, said he could not comment on specifics while the investigation is pending.

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