Century Ambulance vindicated in Bustleton woman’s death

A complaint against the medical practices of Century Ambulance of Bustleton has been rejected by the state Department of Health.

Century, located off Red Lion Road just west of the Northeast Airport, was accused of “gross negligence” by Vlad Glikman, 55 of South Hampton in Bucks County.

On Jan. 20, 2008, Glikman’s father, 82, who lived in a Somerton apartment building at Bustelton and Philmont avenues, called Century because Adalina, 78, Glikman’s mother, was unconscious.

Aleksey Lomov, the Century driver who received Glikman’s call, says Glikman’s father only said a woman had fallen, not that she was unconscious.

He didn’t know it was an emergency, Lomov said.

What is agreed is that it took Lomov more than 20 minutes to arrive on the scene.

Private ambulances have no direct affiliation to the city’s fire department ambulances, which respond to 911 calls. But because of poor response times, private ambulances are increasingly seen as a replacement, Lomov says, particularly in Eastern European communities in the Northeast, as I first reported for Philadelphia Weekly today.

Philadelphia has just 50 ambulance squads, not all of which are full-time. The International Association of Fire Fighters says Philadelphia should have at least 70 full-time ambulances.

After Century’s delay, Gilkman called 911. The city ambulance arrived 15 minutes later – too late by most industry standards – and could only pronounce Gilkman’s mother dead.

But Glikman has foused his anger at Century.

A month after his mother’s death, Glikman filed a complaint against Century Ambulance with the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, a part of the Pa. Department of Health’s Department of Health Planning and Assessment. It was rejected.

He more recently made a complaint to the state Department of Health against the bureau that rejected his claim. After an investigation, Glikman’s claim of medical wrongdoing was rejected last week.

However, the department did find Century in violation of response time protocol. Century submitted a proposal of improvement, and the case is now closed.

“I don’t want to sue them for money or for anything else. I want their license revoked,” Glikman says. “They screwed it up. They screwed it up totally.”

Glikman has watched his mother join a growing list of people who might have been spared in another city with another ambulatory system in place.

It is a serious problem that was first brought to light in May 2006, but little has been done to solve the problem, said Dave Kearney, a fire union spokesman.

“I wonder how many lives have could be saved,” Kearney said. “How many homicides in Philadelphia could have been attempted homicides instead?”

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user enryb (busy renovating house). See it here.

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