Local News

Wake County Resident Dies During EMS, Rest Home Dispute Over Hospital

Posted December 20, 2001

— A local EMS squad is fighting allegations that a man died because they refused to take him to the hospital of his choice.

Tuesday afternoon, the administration at Rose Haven Rest Home requested an ambulance when resident Robert Cockrum did not feel well.

Apex EMS arrived to take Cockrum to Western Wake Medical Center, just five miles away, but "the administration refused several times for us to transfer the patient to Western Wake," said Apex EMS chief Greg Winstead.

The rest home administration says Cockrum's doctor wanted his patient to go to WakeMed, 25 miles away.

In the end, a private ambulance was called for Cockrum. It took two hours for the ambulance to arrive at Rose Haven, and Cockrum died waiting.

Now, investigators have to sort out what happened.

The rest home says Apex EMS refused to take Cockrum to WakeMed because Medicare only covers trips to the closest hospital. Apex EMS says Rose Haven told its crew to leave, even though Cockrum needed help.

Holly Springs Police Chief Cecil Parker says in 20 years he has never seen a situation like this one.

"Any information that we gather will be turned over to the Wake County District Attorney's office for him to decide whether it rises to the level of a criminal offense," Parker said.

There is no word on when that decision will be made.


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