Local News

Paramedic asks for directions to Cary hospital

Posted November 26, 2008 4:24 p.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2008 3:08 p.m. EST

— 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.