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Son billed $781 after dad dies waiting for ambulance

washington dc ems records ambulance unavailable dc council member

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#1 Hum

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 22:57

Durand Ford, Jr. says DC Fire & EMS has sent him a $780.85 bill for an ambulance that he called for his father early on the morning of January 1.

Ford tells News4 that his father died waiting for that ambulance, after it took more than 30 minutes to arrive.

“I feel angry. Upset,” Ford said. “I’m disturbed that we even received this bill.”

Ford said he and his family called 911 in the early hours of New Year's Day because his father, 71-year-old Durand Ford, Sr. had trouble breathing.

According to records, the 911 call was made at 1:25 a.m. A DC fire truck arrived only nine minutes later, but an ambulance was unavailable. According to Prince George’s County Fire & EMS records, DC Fire did not call Prince George’s County for assistance until 1:47 a.m. One minute later, the county dispatched an ambulance from Oxon Hill to go to Ford’s home in Southeast Washington. It arrived at 1:58 a.m.

By then, Ford had died.

“We’re still grieving about the situation,” Ford, Jr. said. “[We’re] very angry about what happened and the service we did not receive from the district.”

DC Council member Yvette Alexander, who represents the Fords in Ward 7, tells News4’s Shomari Stone, “Based on my experience in similar circumstances, DC Fire & EMS has not billed.”

“This seems quite unusual, and I will help the family resolve this matter,” Alexander continued.

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#2 jakem1

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 23:02

User pays FTW.

#3 psionicinversion

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 23:03

the american dream!

#4 DocM

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 23:15

Sadly, in a lot of cities a 30 min 911 response time isn't considered unusual. There was a story on the Detroit news a few weeks ago about a woman who called in a home robbery and it took 2 hours.

#5 Mr.XXIV

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 23:22

Sadly, in a lot of cities a 30 min 911 response time isn't considered unusual. There was a story on the Detroit news a few weeks ago about a woman who called in a home robbery and it took 2 hours.


I waited the whole day, for my mom to come home and then wait for the police. I was supposed to be in school that day, but I'm glad I wasn't.

#6 OP Hum

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 23:46

I doubt an ambulance would have made a difference, but the son sure does not deserve a bill.

#7 zhangm

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:46

According to records, the 911 call was made at 1:25 a.m. A DC fire truck arrived only nine minutes later, but an ambulance was unavailable. According to Prince George’s County Fire & EMS records, DC Fire did not call Prince George’s County for assistance until 1:47 a.m. One minute later, the county dispatched an ambulance from Oxon Hill to go to Ford’s home in Southeast Washington. It arrived at 1:58 a.m.


Someone dropped the ball. Total response time could have been 11 minutes if they'd passed the message on immediately.

#8 Growled

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:02

Well, someone has to pay for the service regardless of someone dying or not. That's just the way it is.

#9 siah1214

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:32

Well, someone has to pay for the service regardless of someone dying or not. That's just the way it is.

What service? Was the gas for the drive $700? It's not like he used any medicine or took up a hospital bed. When I provide ****ty service, I don't expect to get paid..

I'd want an itemized bill of the expenses to justify that charge.

#10 rippleman

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:40

What service? Was the gas for the drive $700? It's not like he used any medicine or took up a hospital bed. When I provide ****ty service, I don't expect to get paid..

I'd want an itemized bill of the expenses to justify that charge.

2 trained ER's, 1 Driver possibly trained in ER, phone system costs, medical insurance costs, $200,000 vehicle rental costs , after-service call check over and maintenance costs, and on and on and on... rent any $200k vehicle and driver for a couple hours and you are looking at the same bill. Now that one looks at it, its a damn cheap to get that for $700 considering what it is.

#11 Brandon

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 13:13

2 trained ER's, 1 Driver possibly trained in ER, phone system costs, medical insurance costs, $200,000 vehicle rental costs , after-service call check over and maintenance costs, and on and on and on... rent any $200k vehicle and driver for a couple hours and you are looking at the same bill. Now that one looks at it, its a damn cheap to get that for $700 considering what it is.


I'm pretty sure the father didn't receive any service though.

On the other hand, Insurance should have covered it.

#12 notuptome2004

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 13:24

Well i had to call 911 for my dad 2 times once December 13th and after a 5 day stay then had to call agian on january 1st when the home health care nurse was there and well my Father passed away on the 8th of january this year but both ambulance rides tho paid by OHP Oregon health plan and Keizer hospital each ride was $1.645.00 and only 23miles on milage it siad on the paper work . i Miss my dad a whole lot

#13 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 13:26

Well, someone has to pay for the service regardless of someone dying or not. That's just the way it is.


Only in America could it be considered acceptable to charge people for using the ambulance service.

#14 ILikeTobacco

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 13:30

Only in America could it be considered acceptable to charge people for using the ambulance service.

You get charged in the UK too. Don't know what your own taxes pay for or something?

#15 jakem1

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 13:33

You get charged in the UK too. Don't know what your own taxes pay for or something?


Not if you can't afford it. Here in the UK we support each other to ensure that everyone is cared for whereas in the US people can only use an ambulance if they can afford it.