UPDATED: Paramedic used wrong IV on patient; suspended
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - A first responder has been demoted, in connection with the rescue of a man who reportedly hanged from a ropes course for two days.
Melvin Davis is still in critical condition at Erlanger. A hiker discovered the 57-year-old hanging by his ankle at Greenway Farms last Wednesday.
Between the time he was found and the time he got to the hospital, one of the paramedics made a mistake. Melvin Davis was conscious when he left the ropes course and was unconscious when he arrived at Erlanger.
Hamilton County EMS told Ch. 3 Eyewitness News Wednesday that the wrong I.V. was hooked up to Davis during transport.
Hamilton County EMS Chief Ken Wilkerson said, "I've been with Hamilton County EMS for almost 24 years now, and this is the first time I've ever had to deal with a situation like this."
With 29,000 calls a year Chief Wilkerson says a mistake like this is as rare as it gets.
A passer-by found Melvin Davis dangling from his ankle in Hixson. He'd been there for two days.
When EMS responded, they hooked up two IVs, but one was the wrong IV. When he arrived at Erlanger doctors immediately alerted EMS headquarters of the mistake.
Chief Wilkerson said, "when he arrived by the ambulance, a doctor noticed something that he thought he should bring to our attention. Something he felt he should not be seeing at that point and time."
Chief Wilkerson wouldn't tell us what was in the wrong IV, but the first responder who hooked it up, Tim Waldo, has been suspended without pay for 28 days, and has been demoted from Paramedic to EMT.
Davis' family released a statement thanking the community for support and saying "What happened to our father is unimaginable, but through God's grace he is surviving." They asked for continual prayers and support.
Chief Wilkerson said it's unclear if their mistake is the reason Davis is in critical condition. He said this is a very unfortunate situation and it doesn't reflect the excellence they strive for, "when there's a perception of something not being right, or when an investigation shows us that something is not right. You always want that to be better the next time."