‘It’s Like They’re Trying To Hurt Me!’
Victim With $374 Bill
EMS Slaps Family of Murder
Victim With $374 Bill
By Gary G. Toms
Barbara Cole has been agonizing over the death of her son for the last several months. It was around midnight, on May 6, when an assailant shot two men in front of 12-70 Redfern Avenue. Cole’s son, Dennis Ross, 28, took four shots to his chest and torso. By 12:20 a.m., Ross was pronounced dead on the scene. The other man, local resident Leon Harper, shot once in the leg, was transported to Jamaica Hospital. His condition was not considered life threatening.
In addition to mourning the loss of her son, and responding to false allegations that appeared in the July 3 issue of the New York Post, which claimed that her son was a member of "The Bloods" gang, Cole and her family are now battling the Emergency Medical Service department for a second time.
The Wave has obtained a copy of a bill of service that was sent to the Ross family from EMS. The bill lists a charge for services rendered to Ross, and goes as far as to include charges for vehicle mileage. The family has always vehemently claimed that no assistance was ever provided to Ross.
When The Wave reported on the story back in June, a number of inconsistencies were found regarding the time of response, what procedures were used in treating the victim, and who made medical evaluations on Ross’ condition. One of the most glaring inconsistencies was found when an EMS official was questioned about the ambulance and technicians who responded to the scene of the murder.
After taking all information provided by The Wave, the official made attempts to track down the unit and names of the medical technicians who responded to the scene of the shooting. Surprisingly, the spokesperson indicated that there was no record of any unit responding to 12-70 Redfern Avenue on the date and time of the murder. When the official was asked if it was unusual that it would not be on record, when an ambulance was clearly seen by a number of people, he noted, "If they were there, it should be on record. This is a bit strange."
After the story broke, Dave Billig, Media Representative for EMS, contacted The Wave. He would not confirm or deny the allegations made by the Ross family, but he did offer some explanations regarding inconsistencies in several areas.
"At 12:28 a.m., May 6, an EMS unit responded to a call of a man with a gunshot wound at 14-80 Redfern Avenue. The person who made the call appears to be Leon Harper. According to what I am looking at in the report, Dennis Ross was declared D.O.A. when the respondents arrived," stated Billig.
When checking the system, a week after the Ross story was featured, Billig told The Wave that information regarding EMS response on the night in question was logged into the computer. However, he did not provide details.
When Billig was asked why would it be on record now, when a representative of the agency, who is trained by the agency, could not find it after a 10-minute search he stated, "If the person is who I think it is, then he's a new guy. He just did not key into the system correctly. It is my firm belief that this is what happened in this case.
The Wave then presented Billig with the badge number of an EMS worker who responded to the scene based on a police report that was submitted by the Ross family. When asked to verify if the number matched ones logged in the records in front of him, Billig stated that the number was not consistent with the ones used in tracking EMS units. He would not comment further.
Cole and her daughter, Sandra Johnson, dismissed the assessment made by the EMS media spokesperson, claiming that no one did anything to help Ross. The family also stated that a number of witnesses would be willing to come forward to support their claims.
"I find it funny that when The Wave contacted them (EMS) they had no record of anyone responding to help save my son. Now, all of a sudden, they want to bill me for services they didn’t even perform? I thought they were city agencies, and therefore, the city should be billed. Why are they billing me? That’s insane, and it’s cruel! I’m telling you, no one did anything to help my son," said Cole.
The outraged mother also mentioned that she couldn’t understand why the bill was sent to her home address, when her son resided at another location.
"It’s like they’re trying to hurt me. What in God’s name would possess them to do a heartless thing like this? Why did they send the bill directly to me? My son had a different address. I’m not even sure how they got my address in the first place!"
Calls were placed to the billing department of the FDNY/EMS for comment on the situation, but they did not respond by the time The Wave went to press.