EMS worker fired after "bad judgement call" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

EMS worker fired after "bad judgement call"

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DECATUR COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

An EMS worker from Decatur County was dismissed Thursday for not providing mutual aid on an emergency ambulance call in nearby Seminole County.

After Decatur County refused to help Seminole County with an emergency call, a man died, and the counties are examining how their Emergency Medical Services operate and promising changes to make sure they cooperate better.

"I've got both of mine out on calls, both of mine are out on calls, this gentleman is at the lake," said the Seminole County dispatcher.

In the 911 call, you can vaguely hear Decatur County EMS worker JoAnn Joiner. She goes back and forth with Seminole County dispatch about a request for help. Joiner decides not to make a Decatur County ambulance available.

"It was a judgement call and it was a bad judgement call," said Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove.

On March 12th at 12:47am Peggy Gubar called 911 in Seminole County because her husband was unresponsive.

"He was breathing deeply and when I said Dick are you okay, he didn't not answer to me," said Gubar. Both ambulances in the county were busy, so Seminole County dispatch asked Decatur County to handle the call. It's possible nothing could have been done to save Richard Gubar, but Decatur County administrator Gary Breedlove says Joiner was wrong to deny the help.

"You start rolling, you get a crew and you start towards the scene," said Breedlove.

Decatur County EMS had not responded to a call since before midnight, and didn't respond to another call until after 10 the next morning. Breedlove says changes will be made to make the mutual aid agreement more clear.

"We've been in operation, helping each other for years and years and as a result now we're looking at do we have a written mutual agreement? Well we don't."

Joiner was first suspended, then sent a termination letter Thursday.

The county administrator says he made the decision to let Joiner go based on impact of Joiner's actions on the entire public safety operation, this was not the first disciplinary action against Joiner.

"It's not the first time, it's the first time in approximately seven years, there is no recent disciplinary action," said Breedlove.

Peggy Gubar said she didn't want anyone to get fired over the situation; she believes her husband of over 50 years went in peace.

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