Paramedic Fired In Wake Of 2010 Snow Death Reinstated

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Officials held a press conference related to the death of a man during a snow storm last February.

Curtis Mitchell, 50, of Hazelwood, died. His live-in girlfriend called 911 10 times in a span of 30 hours, but by the time paramedics arrived, Mitchell was dead.

A scathing arbitrator’s report returns crew chief Josie Dimond to the job with full back pay – about 11 month’s worth.

In a recording, Dimond talks to another employee about an attempt to get to Curtis Mitchell’s home.

Dimond: “If he ain’t (expletive) coming down, I ain’t waiting all day for him, Kim. What the (expletive). This ain’t no cab service.”

The report will not be made public, but sources tell KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin it calls Dimond a “scape goat.”

The report also blames the incident and lack of response on the city and Public Safety Director Michael Huss.

“If they wish to blame me, that’s okay,” Huss said. “I got broad shoulders.”

The arbitrator also described Hazelwood as a scary neighborhood. That offended Huss.

“I travel through Hazelwood every day,” he said. “I think it’s a nice neighborhood. The people there have always treated myself and the other emergency responders that responded to those communities very well.”

“For them to make a comment like that is I think unfortunate,” Huss added.

Sources say the report calls the incident the “fiasco of 2010.” Sources say the report said Mitchell could have come towards the ambulance.

Sources also say the report says: “Josie Dimond’s livelihood can’t be wrangled away from her by dangling innuendo.”

Dimond will not be back to work immediately. The city says it will appeal the decision.

Alan Perer, a lawyer representing Mitchell’s two children, told KDKA-TV: “I don’t see how a paramedic, whose highest obligation is to save lives, does not get reprimanded or punished in some significant way.”

Perer says while the city has admitted it failed Mitchell, it continues to drag its feet in federal court in a lawsuit he’s filed against the city in the case.

Stay with KDKA for the latest details.

  • JOHN



    • Mark

      The problem typically isn’t the arbitration board in these situations. The reason that so many of these cases get overturned in arbitration is because the employer is in such a rush to look like they are serious about addressing the issue that they don’t follow the proper procedures in taking whatever action they take.

      Very often, the wrong message is then taken from the outcome by the public. The arbitration decision doesn’t necessarily mean that the person’s actions weren’t worthy of punishment or termination. The decision oftentimes is more indicative of the failings of the employer to follow the proper procedure in doing what they did.

      So, instead of the public being upset that their City Leaders messed up and demanding accountability, the public mistakenly blames the arbitrators.

  • Max

    Shameful, shameful, shameful. One more scar on the city of Pittsburgh…..

  • steelerfan

    This is pitiful. This supervisor should have been fired, There is no excuse for what this supervisor did, A man died to this persons ignorance and it is ridiculous. You are a paramedic and should be able to deal what ever mother nature throws a you, Get your lazy ass out of the ambulance and walk if you have to, its your job and you get paid good. I hope this mans girlfriend sues the pants off you.

  • Jeff

    Well maybe the live in girlfriend should have driven the patient to the hospital. Now who is really responsible for his death?

    • Flora

      It’s not his girlfriend’s JOB. She wasn’t getting paid to help people or to get them to the hospital. Jeff, that remark is just silly.

      • Jeff

        Oh your right Flora my mistake. His girlfriend had no obligation after so many hours of EMS not showing up to get him to the hospital. My mistake in thinking that “oh I am not getting paid to get him to the hospital so I am going to leave him here to die” and blame those who cant get here due to the weather and the roads.

      • Hoss

        Wow, Flora. I hope no one ever is unlucky enough to become your girlfriend, wife, etc. Because in your world, you would never make any effort to transport a sick boyfriend, spouse, etc. to the hospital. I’m not saying the EMT is without fault. But your statement is the silly one.

    • Mike

      The street that the man and his girlfriend lived on was snowed in. If they had a car and it was parked on that street, they would not have been able to drive it. The Medics have a job and it is saving lives. They failed at that job.

    • FixPGH

      This story reached national news on this past fall and a bunch of idiots said this exact same thing. This is Pittsburgh. Does everyone drive? Does this woman drive? Does she have a car? Was anyone able to go ANYWHERE that night of the storm? If response crews “couldn’t get to him” then what makes you think she would have been able to get anywhere? They are more experienced in driving in bad weather PLUS they could have at least have walked their sorry behinds to the man’s house.

      • Al

        Walk there and what? Carry him for a mile in 4 feet of snow? Impossible. This was tragic, there is no doubt about that. But all the people playing the blame game have no ideas as to what the EMTs could have done differently. A freak medical emergency combined with a freak blizzard are to blame for this man’s death.

      • pk

        fix pgh,

        Why would you walk there when you were told hey he is on his way. They were NEVER told he couldnt make it. Blame the dispatcher who never relayed that info.

    • Jeffrey Verzi

      hey jeff take it easy now I think I KNOW YOU BE NICE

    • stephanei

      Clearly she couldnt drive him . Thats why she called 911 . duh

      Now this women just gets a PAID VACATION for her negligence this is bull

      • pk

        Duh Stephanei,

        Thats bull, people call and then say we will follow you in our car because they will be seen faster if they go with you. DUH!!!!

  • Daniel

    OK, the arbitrator ruled to let Sgt. Hlavac return to work and the city appealed that decision. They fired Hlavac when he was arrested for domestic violence. He is still not back to work. Another Officer was arrested this past week for domestic violence and he was assigned to the warrant office but not fired. The three officers who arrested Jordan Miles are still suspended with pay. They should be put back to work if you ask me. They are stellar officers. Now will the city appeal this arbitrators decision regarding the paramedic supervisor? Let us wait and see!


      Dan you couldn’t have said it better. The city does whatever they want, the problem is the Police dont stick together and that makes the Police union a joke in the eyes of the mayor.. They should Shut the city down on a holiday like st patty day and see what happens or have not showed up on the superbowl beat….But they wont, they dont support each other and are greedy!

      • Sandra Klingensmith

        Mike your right! My neighbor is a city cop and he said the union is a joke and he will never touch another person while he works here. He is looking for a job elsewhere!

      • Denise

        And don’t forget to add Rodney Gamich to the list of people killed by Pittsburgh officials and they got away with it.

      • Jeff

        Actually Rodney was killed by Brentwood PD, one of which I believe went on to be involved in his wifes highly questionable death…

    • Jean Bigeut

      Dan if you havnt noticed the Mayor just does whatever he wants, if I’m not mistaken I think I heard a judge also ordered that Hlvack Sgt back to work after the abitrators decision..The city just refuses, and bad mouths him.

      • pk

        his name was johnny gamage.

  • Marty Lame

    Fools. KDKA is wrong because it wasn’t a Supervisor that was fired. That would have made sense. It was a bottom-rung paramedic. Maybe if they fired someone that was actually in charge then it would have meant something. PSD Huss and Mayor were not here (its in Arbitration evidence), EOC supervisors and EMS Chiefs and Districts Chiefs allowed call to be cancelled several times. So there are a handful of bosses to be blamed. Be made at those managers being paid very well to handled this.

  • happy camper

    good for him,he should get his job back maybe mayor dopie will quit blaming everybody else & using them as escape goats for his pathetic janitorial skills

    • JOEY

      I hate MAYOR LUKE

  • t'mara

    jeff, i’d like to see what you would do if you needed help and called and called for help and it was blown off in such a dismissive way…have you listened to the tapes? the ambulance should have tried to get as close as possible and then walked. it is a horrible shame this man died and the paramedics were so callous.

    • Jeff

      T’mara, Well let me tell you what I would have done in that situation. 1st I take responsibility for all that are in my house. If the ambulance cant get to me then its my job to get the sick one in my house to the hospital if needed in anyway possible. If the means drive them, or get a neighbor with 4 wheel drive to take us, or get the patient to walk down to where the ambulance is or drag him if needed. Its all to easy to blame others isn’t it.

      • Heather

        Man, how many nose bleeds a day do you get up on that high horse of yours, Jeff?

  • People Dontknow

    t’mara, you dont know what the tapes are from do you? Its from a PHONE CALL BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE. Not a radio transmission, not anything else, a personal phone call. It was not blown off by the ambulance crew. It was dismissed by the :dispatchers, and bosses. Read the Department of Health of PA report.

  • Leslie Powell

    I think you’re missing the boat with this story. The truly culpable party is the supervisor in charge of the para-medics that day. Everybody has a boss for a reason. That boss should have found a way to contact the on-duty supervisor for the road crews and arranged for the plows to make sure the ambulance got to that man…up to & including shoveling the walk & steps so that he could be safely gotten to the emergency vehicle.

  • Red Pill

    the plows were told not to deviate for the ambulances because the medics with all of the calls for assistances were taking up their time from clearing their routes. It was even a clip on the news from the public works director blaming the medics for his crews not having the roads cleared fast enough. The truth is there if you dig for it. Just dont keep taking what they feed you

  • Bill

    Paramedics are a necessity. The community needs them. The behavior of both the men on that ambulance and their supervisors is disgusting.
    I was in a Pittsburgh ambulance on my way to the hospital after a heart problem.
    Instead of the paramendic offering me encouragemetn the said “say your prayers buddy you are not going to make it. You will be dead before we get there”.
    This during sunny weather in July 2010. Who selects these people for this very important job.

    • pk

      sure you were, I bet you were at the super bowl to

  • laidbackguy

    One of the supervisors who was disciplined in the Mitchell incident got promoted to an assistant chief position in the fire department today. Why is that story not being reported?

  • Just a medic

    You all don’t seem to understand the job paramedics must perform – especially during high stress incidents like the snow storm in Feb 2010. I am a paramedic, and although I do not condone the behavior of the crews that responded and / or lack of responding to Mr. Mitchell’s home, I do understand the job quite well. I was involved with an out lying community ambulance that responded into the city when they were over 60 calls deep. People don’t seem to understand that not every single “emergency” is a true emergency. People do not need transported to the hospital via ambulance for things that can wait – ie a hang nail, pimples, fever that is controlled with tylenol, a cold, or any other miscellaneous things that can be treated with OTC medications and / or at your primary care physicians office. The EMS system as a whole needs to be over hauled – ambulances were tied up dealing with stupid things and unfortunately this man paid the ultimate price of a failing system.

    I think people also need to remember that during this storm there were lots of paramedic’s and EMT’s that were well into their 24th and upwards hours of working. Why? Because we were in a state of emergency and when we run under that condition you don’t get to go home. You have to sleep when you get it and pray that caffeine doesn’t run out. Is that an excuse for why this man died? No. It’s a fault in the system which I have said previously – needs a serious over haul. Our system needs an over haul from the ground up and we need to do more public education as to when it is appropriate to call for an ambulance and then when you do call 911 tell the truth and not the right “catch words” so an ambulance comes faster because people don’t feel like waiting.

    I don’t think anyone deserves to die, especially when it appears to be preventable. My sympathies go out to his family and I pray that this never happens again. I think we should learn from our mistakes and look at where our faults are – fix those and move on.

    • Mike

      Great reply

    • truthisheresy

      Thank you! It’s refreshing to find the very few people who “get it”.

  • Bud

    They should have never fired him…

  • mike

    Stupid reply

  • Mark

    What is truly shameful about this incident is that the public doesn’t actually know what really happened. The media and City Administration has only feed them bits and pieces of the facts and done so in effort to get exactly the reaction that they got – blind outrage.

    In the Mayor and PSD’s rush to condemn their employees, they either left out or simply didn’t bother to find out that PGH EMS crews never abandoned this patient. All 3 times the assigned Medic Unit discontinued it’s response, it did so because someone from the patient’s location CANCELLED THE REQUEST! They condemned them for not getting out and walking, when one of the crews was in fact on foot headed to the residence when they were told to cancel.

    I’ve heard the tapes and read some of the reports on the incident and a lot of relevant information has not been provided to the public for them to have a proper understanding of exactly what happened. I still haven’t seen any proof that this person’s death was caused by not getting to the hospital.

    Mistakes where made, but ultimately this person was failed by the system and not the supposed actions or inactions of the couple of people who were the scapegoats.

  • Alan

    I have experience as an EMT, Paramedic, Emergency Dispatcher and a Commanding EMS Officer. If you want me to get on my soap box about the overall EMS system, I will be happy too – at a later time. But, each of these individuals were trained in the concept that are each a vital link in the chain of Emergency Services. It was up to each of them to do everything in their power to overcome the hurdles before them. They all bare some of the responsibility! I realize that hindsight is 20/20, but I have been in similar situations and can tell you what I did… I made phone calls, and got access to snowmobiles that were recruited prior to the weather event as part of a mutual aid pre-plan. I then hiked in with whatever equipment and supplies I could carry and stabilized the patient until other resources arrived. That way, at least if the patient’s condition deteriorated, my efforts were immediately available.

    • pk

      you hear that Alan Its you blowing you own horn. The did do that before this call and after that. they were told he was coming to them

  • Richard

    I’m glad the health and well-being of myself and my family will NEVER be in the hands of these inept NON-responders! The arbitrator may have cleared the crew chief but in the public eye it is nothing short of MAJOR FAIL! God help us all if this is an example of how a response such as this should be handled.

    • I HATE HUSS!!

      Hmmmmmm.., Arbitrator cleared the Medics after an investigation, PA Department of Health cleared the Medics after an investigation, The Pittsburgh Medical Director cleared the Medics after an investigation. Hmmmmmmm.., maybe there’s more to this story than what’s being put out by the media and PSD Huss? That would be so unlike the media to give biased information to the public and it would also be so unlike a weasel like Mike Huss to blame others for his lack of being anything short of human.

  • Mike

    Another example of why its time to get rid of all unions and their corrupt arbitration process.

    • Mark

      No, this incident is exactly why Unions are needed and the outcome is not the result of a corrupt arbitration process as you claim.

      The outcome is the direct result of the typical mishandling of problems in the public eye by public officials. The Mayor and PSD attempted to handle a personnel matter in the media. A lot of relevant information about what actually happened was not made public, probably because it would have made those two’s initial comments look foolish.

      In the end, Crew Chief Dimon was not fired because she did not arrive at the scene of a call (that her unit’s response was actually cancelled for) who’s patient eventually died. She was fired for swearing in a telephone conversation with a co-worker.

      The arbitration process recognized the City’s actions for what they were, an attempt to save face and satisfy the public’s thirst for someone to be punished.

  • PK


  • Dan

    This is makes me sick, if the medics would have got the truck stuck, you all would be blaming them for going down the street and saying they should have known better, because then nobody gets any help. They couldn’t make it all the way down so they went and helped the next person they could get too, that makes sense!

    • Bob

      They could have walked down the street, i walked 1/2 mile in that snow to my Mum’s and then spent 6 hours shoveling. They have no excuse, I feel so bad for this family. This wouldn’t have happened in Baldwin, our paramedics are great.

      • pk

        You are clueless.

  • pk


    I dont know where you live but the city has no snowmobiles. im not impressed by your self promoting

  • John

    When I was an EMT we toke an oath to do everything in our power to get to the people in need, it was our duty to serve them. Today it is only their duty to transport them the EMS relies on the fire departments to do all the other services and EMS get paid for all and fire departments get nothing but the call to do the EMS services for them. Sorry this is how it works.

    • pk

      Your an idiot and whatever made oath you took like Paul Blart mall cop is bull. Number 1. fire gets all the free money from the government where ems bills for services. you have no idea who does the most work so please go protect the mall.

  • Alan


    I am not “self-promoting”. I am just defining basic Emergency Services concepts covered at all levels of training.

    The city doesn’t have to have snowmobiles, but they do have a duty to pre-plan and find a source for them in advance. This is already being done by the fire bureau’s pre-plan that sources for tankers from in more rural areas in the event that there is a compromised water supply within the city limits. The mayor is even doing it by now contracting privately owned plows that can augment the city’s fleet during unusually heave snowfalls.

    These type of pre-plans are not only a good idea, it is established and mandated by PEMA!

    • pk


      Thats right they do but they didint. So dont punish the wrong people. And for them having a plan now. NO the dont it as meesed as always. I know.

    • I HATE HUSS!!

      THE CITY OFFICIALS HAD NO PRE PLAN LAST YEAR!!!! PSD Huss and Mayor Ravenstahl’s pre plan was yo be in Seven Springs and DO NOTHING!! You and everyone else who are not City Firemen, City Paramedics or City Police have no idea what they had to deal with during the storm. There is so much more to this story than what is being told. Unfortunately it’s taking this long to show that the real blame lies with the City Officials, not the grunts that were left with no resources, no sleep and a back log of calls that took days to cover.
      As one person stated TRUTHFULLY earlier, the Mitchell household kept cancelling EMS. Alan, do you know what triage is? I thought after being cancelled the Paramedics should of went to the next highest priority call? And guess what? THEY DID!!


        Your so wrong, MAYOR LUKE had a pre plan, it was go to seven springs and make out with some babes and let the city ROT !

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