Vegas Policy Blamed for Bleeding Death

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – A man bled to death because Las Vegas wants to boost city revenue by sending only the Fire Department, but not private ambulances, to emergency calls, a family claims in court.
     Brandon Charles Pickford, 43, died of a stab wound in the neck during a fight at a McDonald’s on April 17, 2014.
     His family claims in Federal Court that the city “implemented a 911 dispatch policy” that prevents private ambulance companies from responding to emergency medical calls. Pickford’s children and sister claim the city and its Fire & Rescue department did this “with dollar signs in their eyes … recklessly disregard(ing) common sense and a chorus of public warnings that the Las Vegas Fired & Rescue was unequipped to handle the majority of 911 calls.”
     Lead plaintiff Susan D’Andrea, Pickford’s sister, claims the policy change subjected her brother and others to “needlessly delayed ambulance response times” with results that “could not have been more foreseeable.”
     For years, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue notified ambulance companies as well as the fire department of emergency medical calls, but Fire Chief William L. McDonald changed the system in March 2014 to increase the number of hospital transports and revenue for the fire department, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported on April 28, 2014.
     D’Andrea says an ambulance company was near but the city police delayed arrival of a city ambulance by “critical, unnecessary minutes … leading to his death from otherwise treatable injuries.”
     Pickford argued with Asa Funderburk when Pickford refused to let him use his cellphone and Funderburk stabbed him in the neck with a pointed stick. Funderburk pleaded guilty in December 2014 to voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon. Pickford’s family seeks punitive damages for wrongful death, civil rights violations and negligence.
     They are represented by Matthew Callister, who was not immediately available for comment Monday.
     Nor were Fire Chief McDonald and co-defendant City Manager Betsy Fretwell.

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