SANTA FE, N.M. — A lawsuit filed in Santa Fe last week says a San Miguel County ambulance took 45 minutes to get to a man who was suffering from a deadly stroke, but state officials and the head of the ambulance company say the ambulance got to him in less than half that time.
Lawrence Quintana, 46, started suffering from a stroke the night of Oct 7, 2015, and an ambulance was dispatched to his residence, according to a wrongful death suit filed in Santa Fe District Court. A first vehicle from Superior Ambulance, a private company that has a contract with San Miguel County, wasn’t able to find the home, but a second ambulance was able to find it about 45 minutes after the initial 911 call was made.
The ambulance got on the radio with Alta Vista Regional Hospital in Las Vegas, which the suit says “held itself out” to be a full-service hospital, to alert it about the incoming patient with a possible stroke. But the hospital diverted the ambulance to Santa Fe, which is about 70 miles away. Attorney Criostoir Cleireachain – who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Quintana’s personal representative, John Howard – didn’t clarify why the hospital turned Quintana away when reached by phone Wednesday.
Quintana arrived at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe around 2:30 a.m., nearly three hours after the initial 911 call. He died about five days after being admitted. “Due to the delay in obtaining hospital treatment, Mr. Quintana was unable to recover from the medical insult to his brain and body,” the suit says.