Man blames paramedics equipment for wife's death - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man blames paramedics equipment for wife's death

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A North Park man is blaming paramedics for his wife's death because he believes equipment that could have saved her life wasn't charged.

“I just got down and hugged and kissed her and said, ‘I love you,” said Ricshell Bunton.

The medical call happened Monday around 4:30 a.m. in the 4300 block of Oregon Street, "I gave her CPR and at the same time I called 911,” said Bunton.

Bunton says his wife suffered from a heart condition and emphysema.

When paramedics from the San Diego Fire & Rescue Department arrived to treat Bunton's 59-year-old wife, Patricia Donahue, she was in cardiac arrest. Bunton says something went terribly wrong.

“He [paramedic] said, 'the battery is dead, I need another battery,'” says Bunton of the conversation between the two paramedics.

Bunton believes the medics were talking about a battery for the defibrillator.

During the interview with Bunton, Dr. James Dunford, the City of San Diego's medical director called Bunton.

“Just a shame that I have go through this and see that,” said Bunton to Dunford on the phone. “I was right here looking over my wife and watching her die."

CBS News 8 met with the Dr. Dunford after the interview who disputes Bunton's claims.

“The discussion of a battery fail seems to be confused by family members,” said Dunford.

Medics say Donahue flatlined and the defibrillator was working but it was the “EZ-IO”, the intraosseous vascular access system, that is used to administered drugs that malfunctioned.

“For some reason the device ceased up and stopped drilling half way through the bone,” said James Dunford, M.D., City of San Diego Medical Director.

While the paramedic went to get another drill out of the emergency vehicle the other paramedic manually drilled into Donahue. “There was probably a two minute delay there."

He says despite the two minute delay, unfortunately Donahue wouldn't have been saved, "I don't believe that in any way effected the outcome in this case.”

Mr. Bunton believes it could have saved his wife and believes this is a wrongful death.

“They [paramedics] weren't prepared to do their job for my wife so she could survive,” said Bunton.

The San Diego Fire Department says they've tested the drill and the battery works and it spins but it stops in the middle of a procedure.

The drill has been sent to the manufacture for review. The medical director is encouraging Mr. Bunton to review their records and says there is audio of emergency call.

The medical examiner says Donahue's cause of death is pending.
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