Loudon County family upset with Rural/Metro employee caught smok

Loudon County family upset with Rural/Metro employee caught smoking on camera

Posted:
Eighty-one-year-old Donna Maher died August 19 after being in the hospital for 10 days following that call. Eighty-one-year-old Donna Maher died August 19 after being in the hospital for 10 days following that call.
Rural/Metro says they have an employee on leave in Loudon County pending investigation Rural/Metro says they have an employee on leave in Loudon County pending investigation
Woodford says seeing the video makes her feel like her mom's life didn't matter to the emergency responders. Woodford says seeing the video makes her feel like her mom's life didn't matter to the emergency responders.
By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter


LENOIR CITY (WATE) - A Loudon County family is wondering if their loved one would still be alive if Rural/Metro had responded to a 911 call sooner.

Eighty-one-year-old Donna Maher died August 19 after being in the hospital for 10 days following that call.

Previous story: Video of Loudon County Rural/Metro worker taking smoke break raises questions over response time

6 News first brought you these concerns last week after reviewing a video showing a Rural/Metro employee smoking a cigarette for about four minutes before responding to the emergency call.

"She's holding her arms up, 'Oh God I can't breathe, I can't breathe.' So I dialed 911," said Thomas Lane, Maher's nephew.

Lane called 911 when his Maher started having trouble breathing on August 9.

"And then we waited and waited and waited, like I said the ambulance took forever to get here then it backed down the driveway real slow. And when it got here they said just leave the bed in the truck. I said no don't leave the bed. She's 81 having a heart attack."

"She might not have lived even if they got here real fast, but at least she would have had a better chance in my opinion," said Maher's daughter Donna Woodford.

Woodford says seeing the video makes her feel like her mom's life didn't matter to the emergency responders.

"Why should they even be working for a hospital if they're not going to do their job? You take your break when you can take your break, not whenever you've got emergencies. You've gotta do whatever you have to do if you want a job and you want to help somebody and keep them from dying."

A Rural/Metro spokeswoman issued this statement Tuesday night about the incident: "Rural/Metro can confirm that the company does have an employee on leave in Loudon County pending investigation of an incident brought to Rural/Metro’s attention last week, but the company cannot identify what patient the matter is in regard to because doing so would result in identifying the patient – which potentially violates HIPAA / federal law."

Loudon county officials are giving Rural/Metro 60 days to fix what they say are multiple concerns with the service- from slow response times to failing to respond to an emergency call. If the company doesn't fix the problems, officials say they will end their contract.

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