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Paramedic asks for directions to Cary hospital

Posted November 26, 2008
Updated November 27, 2008

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— An emergency trip to WakeMed Hospital in Cary took about twice as long as it should have after the paramedic driving the ambulance went in the wrong direction, a Cary woman said.

Valerie Marino suffered an allergic reaction to the prescription drug Amoxcillin and blacked out on Oct. 7. A few minutes later, Marino said an ambulance showed up at her apartment on Choptank Court.

“We sat here for a minute, while the driver looked through some maps. I got a little confused,” Marino said.

Wake County Emergency Medical Services Director Skip Kirkwood said the “crew wasn’t terribly familiar with the area.”

“They reported in their report (that) the GPS unit did not give them a direct route to the hospital,” Kirkwood said.

With the GPS not working, the driver decided to follow Cary Parkway.

“They went completely the wrong direction,” Marino said.

The route EMS took (in blue) and the route Google Maps suggests (in red)

By going the wrong direction, the driver doubled the length of the trip.

“I wouldn’t say they were lost, but they didn’t take the most direct route to the hospital,” Kirkwood said.

After driving on Cary Parkway for several minutes, the crew stopped at the intersection of Cary Parkway and Chapel Hill Road to ask for directions.

"For them not to know how to get to the hospital from an established neighborhood in Cary to a hospital that's been there for years – that's pretty frightening,” Marino said.

Kirkwood insists the incident was not a common occurrence.

“Within the system when there are people involved things don’t go exactly as planned. We are sorry for that,” Kirkwood said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dhanincnc Nov 28, 2008

    That this is even a story on WRAL makes me wonder about the competency at the news desk. Why did the reported not ask her why she waited nearly two months to raise this issue? If people were going to die, why did she not tell us sooner of this danger (sic)? I'd guess is that it took her that long to get her bill and once she saw what a ride to the hospital cost, she went into the poor disserved me mode. And did she try to get any resolution to her complaint before airing her stuff in the media? Completely in the wrong direction means you end up in Chapel Hill or Franklinton; not just taking the scenic route around our town. You got to the hospital didn't you? What's the real issue here. Fact is there isn't an issue, just a drama queen again tarnishing our hard working public servants. Happy Thanksgiving folks.

  • walkermr Nov 28, 2008

    "So I will continue to wait until the knee-jerkers manage to get tired and someone is the field can actually explain it to me."

    Maybe the EMS crew wanted the fastest option. If they are sitting at a light and realize they are lost they can:

    1. Get a dispatcher to another channel

    2. Tell them there current position and ask for directions

    3. Wait for dispatch to plug in their current position/destination

    4. Wait for dispatch to figure out the route

    5. Listen while dispatch gives them the route


    1. Ask a local how to get to the hospital

    2. Follow their directions

    They made the right choice. What is so wrong with them ask someone for directions? Are we not supposed to interact with the public now? God forbid we ask for their help every once in a while.

  • Steve Crisp Nov 27, 2008

    Again, some of you people are just sad...

  • NeedToTellTheTruth Nov 27, 2008

    Bless your heart Steve...I actually did admit earlier that a mistake was made...they happen every day! BUT- I actually do the job...you don't- shut up!

    Also, I have been involved in Internal Affairs hearings at the STATE level...not just the local level. You are judged by some armchair quarterbacks but you also are judged by co-professionals and peers...not just wanna be's like yourself. You don't know what you're talking about!! Been there, done that...you're a wanna be!! Nuff said....

  • Steve Crisp Nov 27, 2008

    By the way, needtotellthetruth, when you get hauled in front of an Internal Affairs hearing board, are they also a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks who have no business questioning your actions? I mean, who could possibly question the actions of ANY officer, fireman, or EMT even if it seems like they have blown it?

  • Steve Crisp Nov 27, 2008

    And yet more bravado from one who can not admit that his fellow officers can actually make a mistake from time to time. It really, really is sad...

    If you can't take the heat, get out of the profession because you are lowering the professionalism of all those who actually do perform a valuable public service.

  • NeedToTellTheTruth Nov 27, 2008

    People are tired of listening to you Steve. Everyone is super impressed that you have a scanner and that you know the bands and channels on the radio. I love the way that people like you armchair quarterback everything. You're wasted space that has a comment for everything on every story.

    We bow down to you. You're the great one! We're in aw of your scanner!

    No need to respond with more of your idiocies because you must be mistaking me and everyone here for someone who likes you or who gives a flip about what you think. Go listen to your scanner! We don't have scanners...we actually get to walk the walk and carry the radios that you listen to.

  • Steve Crisp Nov 27, 2008

    And everytime another person come in here trying to defend this action, I will continue to point it out. Rather than trying to tell me not to run it into the ground, why don't you inform your emergency responder associates who keep posting that they are looking foolish in the face of reality and facts?

  • leo-nc Nov 27, 2008

    I think you made your point about 20 posts ago.

  • Steve Crisp Nov 27, 2008

    Folks. The issue here is NOT the EMS crew making an inconsequential error. That is not only forgivable, but easily correctable.

    The entire issue here is all other emergency personnel crawling out of the woodwork to defend them as if NOTHING -- no mistake -- had happened at all. And that is what I get sick of hearing.

    If someone makes a mistake, fine. Call it for what it is. But quit trying to rally the troops to defend them when there is no defense. It really dramatically lowers the professional image y'all are trying to present.