RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Reno city officials spoke with News 4 on Monday regarding a new policy within the Reno Fire Department which could be risking lives. The new policy in question has created new criteria for whether or not Reno Fire personnel will assist REMSA or other agencies with lifting patients.
Possible issues with the policy surfaced after an incident in Lemmon Valley on June 17 that left an injured man stranded for more than hour, because a Reno Fire Battalion Chief refused to help REMSA medics move a patient from a boat to an ambulance. According to reports obtained by News 4, the same Battalion Chief told other fire agencies not to respond to the call.
City officials said it is not acceptable. "Our response to that was totally unacceptable and we've taken immediate action to correct that," revealed Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger. "In fact, Chief Hernandez sent out a memo last week to correct that we've already had meetings with REMSA, and we have another meeting with REMSA to make sure we have a clear understanding and they have a clear understanding of the protocol we're going to use to respond. It depends on the medical need of the patient and what kind of condition the patient is in."
According to the report News 4 obtained, the patient was ultimately diagnosed with severe pulmonary edema, where fluids fill the lungs. News 4 did speak with Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez on the phone Monday, and he said the Lemmon Valley incident is under investigation.
Hernandez also said the new lift-assist criteria was sent out in a memorandum about 45 days ago to all dispatchers in the area and directly to REMSA officials.
Hernandez has scheduled an on-camera interview with News 4 on Tuesday.