This DC Ambulance Rolled Backwards With Patient Still Inside

By Peter DePaolis

After a horrible and graphic leg fracture seen on live television for the Rio Olympics, the gymnast was dropped by the EMS crew while being loaded into the ambulance for the world to see. Meanwhile, a DC ambulance would also commit a blunder that same day, right here at home in ambulance accidents.

An ambulance at George Washington University Hospital rolled backwards with no one in the driver’s seat and while a patient was still inside the vehicle. The runway ambulance was chased down by EMTs and a police officer. While the patient was shaken up but otherwise unharmed, this incident shows ambulance accidents are more common than many might realize.

Are Ambulance Accidents Common?

When we are experiencing a medical emergency, EMT crews and their ambulances are supposed to safely and quickly transport us somewhere we can receive treatment. We rely on them to stabilize our conditions on the way there, or at least not make our preexisting conditions worse. However, this is not always the case.

For the most part, more serious ambulance accidents are collisions with other vehicles while on the way to or from an emergency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 300 fatal ambulance accidents occurred, which resulted in 82 ambulance occupant fatalities, as well as 275 other vehicle passengers or pedestrians between 1991 and 2000. Approximately 60 percent of all ambulance accidents occur during emergency use.

In other cases, EMT responders failed to secure a passenger properly, which can make some patient conditions worse along the way. When a passenger is not properly secured, any sudden stop or acceleration can propel a patient through the ambulance doors. In other instances, improperly secured passengers can suffer head traumas or other injuries.

EMT responders and ambulance drivers play a huge role in our society and deserve much respect for the lives they save. However, when there is an emergency and a person’s well-being is at stake, proper safety procedures must be followed to ensure the patient’s safety.

Contact our DC Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

The Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP help victims who have sustained injuries or lost loved ones in transportation accidents. Contact us today to speak to one of our attorneys. 


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.