SC fire dept. under investigation for 2015 EMS call

Officials said an underage female junior firefighter performed CPR on a patient that later died

By Chloe Johnson
The Sun News

SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. — The Town of Surfside Beach is under investigation by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, according to the state agency.

Adrianna Bradley, a DHEC spokesperson, said that the agency is investigating an emergency medical services call to a residence in Surfside on Jan 25, 2015.

Town officials alerted DHEC on March 29 that they might want to investigate the incident, Bradley said.

“[T]he focus of the investigation is on whether Surfside Beach Fire Department, Horry County Fire and Rescue, and their personnel allowed care, or provided care, above their level of certification,” Bradley wrote in an emailed statement Thursday.

Horry County houses EMS unit 31 in Surfside.

On Tuesday night, Surfside’s town council discussed the medical call at length. Councilmembers cited an earlier report in the Myrtle Beach Herald that said an underage female junior firefighter performed CPR on a patient that later died.

“I’ve got people calling me right now. The town is embarrassed. I’m embarrassed,” Councilmember Randle Stevens said. “And God forbid if that had been my daughter. I’d have been very upset.”

Town Administrator Micki Fellner declined to discuss the incident, except in private with council members.

“Council was aware of this [in 2015] … I’m not comfortable saying anything more at this time. I’m concerned about HIPAA,” Fellner said, referring to a medical records privacy law.

“There’s a huge liability for the town here, council member, and that’s my concern,” she said to Councilmember Tim Courtney, who raised the incident during the public meeting.

Councilmember David Pellegrino said the town went through proper procedure after the medical call.

“I was on council, and shortly after Ms. Fellner found out, I knew,” Pellegrino said. “We went through a process. The police were involved. We did investigations.”

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