City to Appeal Court Ruling in Rosenbaum Case
The District government will appeal a court ruling that overturned the city's firing of an emergency medical technician for her role in the botched care of a former New York Times journalist slain in 2006.
D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said today that the city will fight a Superior Court decision last week that upheld an employment judge's ruling that the District waited too long to fire Selena Walker, who was among the emergency workers faulted for the care of journalist David E. Rosenbaum, who died in January 2006. The court said the city had to act within a 90-day window. She was fired in June 2006.
Walker was the driver of an ambulance crew that got lost on the way to pick up Rosenbaum, mistakenly thought he was intoxicated, classified him as a low priority and then bypassed a closer hospital and took him to Howard University Hospital, according to Nickles and a D.C. inspector general's report.
Nickles said the Walker did not provide a full account of her actions during her initial interview before a panel that was reviewing the case in January 2006, claiming she did not know why she went to Howard University Hospital instead of Sibley Memorial Hospital, which was closer. But in a June 2006 report released by the D.C. Inspector General, Walker acknowledged that she had gone to Howard because it was closer to her home and she wanted to run errands, Nickles said.
"We would have been attacked if we terminated her earlier," Nickles said. "The OIG report was June 15, 2006, so the date of termination was well within the 90 days. ..... To me this kind of misconduct is exactly what we in this administration need act on to hold people accountable. This is egregious misconduct."
Rosenbaum, 63, died of a brain injury two days after he was attacked and beaten with a metal pipe on Gramercy Street NW on Jan. 6, 2006. His family dropped a $20 million lawsuit against the District last year in exchange for a commitment that officials would overhaul the city's emergency medical response system.
Nickles said he would file the appeal within 30 days.
"In the meantime, she is out," he said. "I hope she stays out."
David A Nakamura
November 24, 2008; 5:55 PM ET
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