EXCLUSIVE: DC paramedic accused of sleeping while on duty

A D.C. paramedic is accused of sleeping while a patient tossed and turned on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance, and it was all caught on camera.

The ambulance was called to a D.C. homeless shelter around 4 a.m. Thursday for a man complaining of abdominal pain. He was loaded into the back of the ambulance with the help of a friend. That friend spoke exclusively with FOX 5, but did not want to be identified.

“He couldn't get out of the bed. I asked them if they could put him on a stretcher. They told me that he was going to have to walk downstairs on his own,” the friend said. “They wouldn't assist me, so me and a friend of mine helped him, take him down the steps to the ambulance.”

But it’s what happened on the ambulance ride that really shocked him. He recorded cell phone video on the drive to the hospital. The man claims the paramedic sitting behind his sick friend was asleep for the whole ride.

“As the driver was driving, the EMT slept all the way through the trip without any assistance whatsoever,” the friend said. “I mean this guy was suffering with pain, he was hollering, and she didn’t even bother to look at him, ask his name, or anything whatsoever.”

To be fair, the man said he didn’t even try to awaken the sleeping medic.

“I didn't say anything to her at all. I figure that's her job to do what she got to do, and she failed to do her job,” he said.

The incident follows a string of problems with D.C. ambulance service. Two children have died when units failed to respond appropriately, and FOX 5 has reported on an ambulance shortage in the District.

According to the man we interviewed, the patient is still in the hospital for surgery to have his appendix removed.

FOX 5 reached out to D.C. Fire and EMS to ask them about the protocol and if this was acceptable. A spokesperson said they will look into it further.