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D.C. Fire/EMS Medical Director Resigns

James J. Augustine, the medical director of D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, who helped steer reforms after the controversial death of a New York Times reporter, will leave his post at the end of the year.

In a statement announcing Augustine's leaving, the agency cited personal health reasons for the departure.

Augustine, a medical doctor, worked in the District since 2008 and oversaw the unification of emergency medical services within the fire department. They had been separate functions.

The agency came under fire in 2006, when New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum, 63, was mugged and beaten near his home and died two days later of a brain injury. He never received proper treatment because firefighters and emergency workers thought he was drunk.

Rosenbaum's family filed suit against the city, but dropped it in return for promises by the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to reform the city's emergency medical services. A survey released earlier this year found improvements in the reporting of patient information and the amount of time it takes ambulances to get to hospitals.

Augustine also helped implement a paperless electronic patient care reporting system, and enhanced advanced life support (ALS) delivery capabilities for paramedics.

"The citizens of the District have directly benefited from the work of Dr. Augustine. Our world class EMS system is testimony to his leadership and innovation," said Chief Dennis L. Rubin in a statement. "He had a collaborative nature about him and the relationships he developed and nurtured on behalf of DC F&EMS has formed a lasting foundation for which we can build our future course.”

Rubin will name an interim medical director and the agency will begin a national search for a permanent leader in January.

--Theola Labbé-DeBose

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  December 2, 2009; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  Fires & Fire Safety , The District , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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