Dying child rushed to hospital by ER nurse, police sparks concerns over AMR response time

12-year-old Tristan Smith was critically injured by a Jeep while crossing Lamey Bridge Road on Sunday afternoon.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:10 PM CDT
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D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - After a dying child was rushed to the hospital by D’Iberville police, more questions are being raised about AMR response time after city officials say an AMR ambulance was not available to respond.

12-year-old Tristan Smith was critically injured by a Jeep while crossing Lamey Bridge Road on Sunday afternoon. An off-duty emergency room nurse, Frank Duke, was driving with his wife and child through the area when the incident happened.

“I found the situation to be very critical,” Duke said. “Upon arrival of police and fire, we made a decision that it was in the young person’s best interest to get to the hospital as fast as possible.”

Duke helped load Smith into a police patrol car. An EMT-certified firefighter was also in the vehicle as the officer raced them to Merit Health in Biloxi.

The boy died hours later.

“We all tried very hard for a positive outcome,” said Duke. “Unfortunately, the result isn’t something we wanted. But we can all go home and sleep well knowing we did what’s right. It never gets easier. The trauma that first responders have to go through is not something that ends when we clock out. These things stay with us forever. D’Iberville police and fire did not hesitate. I cannot be more proud to call myself a D’Iberville citizen, knowing these guys are there to answer the call.”

WLOX News has been investigating AMR response time in Harrison County. According to documents obtained, AMR did not meet the required response time eight months out of 2022.

D’Iberville’s city manager confirms that since June this year, there have been four incidents where Acadian Ambulance has responded to emergencies in the city because AMR was not available.

AMR has since issued the following statement:

Over the summer, Biloxi and Gulfport created their own EMS districts after raising issues with AMR response time. Currently, all cities in Harrison County are served by AMR. The contract expires in January 2024.

Biloxi is now accepting proposals from ambulance companies for service. Gulfport is expected to do the same by the end of the year.

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