Mary Helen Fimbris receives treatment after the gurney she was on fell over on Thursday in Roswell. She was taken back to the hospital for evaluation, according to Superior Ambulance Services, before being returned home. (Courtesy Photo)
A pair of Superior Ambulance Service employees are on suspension after dropping their elderly Roswell patient into the street in front of her stricken family on Thursday, according to the ambulance company CEO.
Luis Hinojosa, of Roswell, said that two Superior Ambulance Service employees were unloading his grandmother, Mary Helen Fimbris, at her home when the gurney on which she was being carried tipped over.
“We all saw it happen, there were a bunch of us there in the street when she fell,” Hinojosa said.
The ambulance was providing transportation from a local hospital to Fimbris’ home when the accident happened.
“That crew has been suspended pending an investigation, which is normal procedure for us,” said Chris Archuleta, CEO and executive director of Superior Ambulance Service, which is headquartered in Albuquerque.
Whenever an incident occurs, Superior Ambulance Services requires drug and alcohol testing of the employees involved and then suspend the employees pending investigation, Archuleta said.
“We have to investigate the incident to insure no malfunction of the gurney occurred,” Archuleta said. “Usually, when we see a fall, it is either equipment failure or human error, it goes about 50-50.”
Archuleta said the gurney accident was an unfortunate incident, and that the company will be looking into what happened.
After the fall, Fimbris was returned to the hospital for an evaluation before she was returned home by ambulance, Archuleta said.
Hinojosa said his grandmother was not taken back to the hospital for evaluation, but was simply driven around the block then returned home.
Archuleta said company policy dictates that patients are always strapped into their gurney when being transported by ambulance.
“That is standard practice, 100 percent,” Archuleta said. “Patients are always strapped in for their own safety during transportation.”
Hinojosa, however, said his grandmother was not strapped onto the gurney and fell out onto the street when the gurney tipped over, injuring her head and hands. She was eventually returned home.
Superior Ambulance is the largest private ambulance provider in New Mexico, according to the website, superior-nm.com.
In 1999, Superior Ambulance established Superior Medical Transportation as a separate division to operate as a transportation management company in an effort to segregate the ambulance operation from transportation management.
Today, the company is the largest provider of Emergency 911 and non-emergency ambulance services in New Mexico. Superior Ambulance Service Inc. provides services to Albuquerque-Metro, Las Vegas; San Miguel County; Roswell / Chaves County; Santa Fe, Pecos, Tucumcari; Quay County, and Torrance County, east of Albuquerque.