A widow has made some stunning allegations about her treatment by a Maine ambulance crew that was transporting her dying husband to the hospital last week following a skiing accident at Sugarloaf Ski Area.
Dana Morse, a nurse practitioner from Nova Scotia, alleges that paramedics from Northstar Ambulance pulled over, let her out of the ambulance, and left her standing by the side of the road while they continued their transport of David Morse to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. She further alleges that when paramedics later determined David was dead, they discontinued transporting his body to the hospital and returned it to the ski area.
The bizarre story began when the Morse’s were skiing at Sugarloaf on January 12, 2012. David Morse lost control and struck a tree at around 3.30 pm. Sugarloaf Ski Patrol responded, packaged Mr. Morse and transported him to the Sugarloaf First Aid Clinic at the base of the mountain. NorthStar Ambulance took over Morse’s care as his condition steadily deteriorated. Dana Morse alleges that paramedics failed to properly assess and treat her husband, focusing more on a suspected elbow fracture than on his internal injuries and declining vital signs.
According to Dana, it took paramedics approximately 30 minutes to load David into the ambulance, during which time he went into respiratory arrest. Dana’s request to ride in the back of the ambulance with her husband was turned down and she was told to sit in the front passenger seat for the one hour ride to Franklin Memorial Hospital. During the journey Dana pleaded with paramedics to ride in the back with her husband. The driver of the ambulance allegedly stopped the vehicle, and once Dana exited the passenger’s seat, drove off without waiting for her to get in the back.
Dana claims she flagged down a car, went back to the ski resort to get her car, and then went to Franklin Memorial Hospital. Once at the hospital, Dana discovered that the ambulance had not brought David in. In fact, hospital personnel were unaware the Northstar ambulance had even initiated a transport of a critically injured patient. A nurse at the hospital contacted the paramedics and learned that because they concluded that David had died en route, the ambulance had taken the body back to the ski resort clinic.
Franklin Memorial Hospital, which owns NorthStar Ambulance, apparently learned of the story through media reports emanating from Dana Morse. They have since launched an internal investigation into the matter. The Carrabassett Valley Police Department and the State Medical Examiner are also investigating.