Investigation launched into Warren ambulance service after infant’s death

Posted Dec. 12, 2013, at 11:24 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 12, 2013, at 6:05 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — The death of a 2-month-old boy in Warren early Wednesday morning has led to an internal investigation by the town over the lack of a response to the emergency call by the community’s ambulance service.

No foul play is involved in the death of the child, who was born on Oct. 18, according to Maine Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland. The infant was sleeping with his mother when she found him not breathing and called 911.

An autopsy was performed Wednesday by the Maine medical examiner’s office. No cause of death has yet been determined, pending further tests, McCausland said Thursday.

Town Manager Elaine Clark said she has placed the director of the Warren Ambulance Service, Polly Wood, on administrative leave pending an investigation into the handling of the call. She said this was a routine move as part of such an investigation to allow the town to look into what occurred and whether town policies were followed.

Clark said that the initial tone was sent out at 2:32 a.m. Wednesday from the Knox County Regional Communications Center to Warren’s ambulance department. When no response was received, a second tone was sent out at 2:35 a.m.

When the communications center failed to get a response a second time, the dispatcher contacted the Lincoln County Dispatch Center and it toned out for an ambulance from neighboring Waldoboro at 2:39 a.m., Clark said. The Waldoboro ambulance was en route at 2:43 a.m. and arrived at the scene in Warren at 2:51 a.m. Waldoboro Emergency Medical Services Director Richard Lash said that the Waldoboro crew remained at the scene until 4:31 a.m.

Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said that Deputy Jeremy Joslyn, who had arrived on the scene first, performed CPR along with the mother but they were unable to revive the baby.

Clark said she is reviewing records from Knox dispatch, as well as town records and policies, to determine if the call was handled properly.

Warren has a volunteer department but between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. has people at the station being paid on a per diem basis. There also are five to six people who are on call in the evening.

A telephone message left for Wood at her home Thursday was not returned.

McCausland said this has been a doubly tragic year for the mother, whose boyfriend was struck by a vehicle and killed while he was walking on Route 1 in March.

State police also went to the home because state law requires state police to look into all deaths of children younger than 3.

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