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PORTLAND, Ore. — The death of a Cuban immigrant just feet from an emergency room has left his family in grief, upset police and drawn a request for an investigation from a congressman, all asking why an officer was told to call the emergency services number for a heart attack victim just outside the hospital door.
Birgilio Marin-Fuentes had driven to Portland Adventist Medical Center shortly after midnight Thursday, unable to sleep or stop coughing, then crashed his car into a pillar and wall inside the first level of the hospital parking garage under an "emergency parking only" sign about 125 feet from the emergency room entrance.
By the time somebody noticed the 61-year-old Cuban immigrant in his car and told a police officer in the emergency room, about 20 minutes had gone by.
Officers Angela Luty and Robert Quick found Marin-Fuentes unconscious and unresponsive and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A third officer, Andrew Hearst, went to the ER intake desk and told them what was happening.
He was told to call emergency services.
"The officers recognized this man needed medical attention immediately, and two officers began CPR immediately, and a third officer went to ask for assistance, and they were told they had to wait until an ambulance arrived," said Sgt. Pete Simpson, a Portland Police Bureau spokesman.
udy Leach, a hospital spokeswoman, said emergency room staff was told it was a car crash and they were following the proper protocol by instructing police to summon an ambulance crew.
"With an automobile accident you don't know if the patient needs to be extricated or transported," Leach said Friday. "There are protocols in place to ensure the right thing is done for the right patient at the right time."
She said hospital security officers equipped with a mobile defibrillator were dispatched, and a paramedic went outside to check on the situation.
But Simpson said officers did not receive any medical assistance and were left to fend for themselves until the ambulance arrived and the crew wheeled Marin-Fuentes the short distance to the emergency room aboard a gurney.
The details of good Samaritan laws/acts in various jurisdictions vary, including who is protected from liability and in what circumstances. Not all jurisdictions provide protection to laypersons, in those cases only protecting trained personnel, such as doctors or nurses.