Snoops' Ride In City Ambulance To Be Examined By The Council

August 12, 1991

Annapolis lawmakers will review Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins' decision toorder a city ambulance to take the governor's longtime companion, Hilda Mae Snoops, to Baltimore on a non-emergency run.

The July 24 trip, in which one of the city's two ambulances took Snoops to Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, is expected to generate considerable debate when the City Council meets tonight.

A 71-year-old Annapolis man, Thomas C. Sharps, died of cardiac arrest while the ambulance was returning from Baltimore.

Hopkins approved the trip for Snoops, who had fallen at the governor's mansion, after the city battalion chief on duty refused a request by the head of the governor's security detail. The mayor later said he was told it was an emergency.

While the mayor said he would ask the City Council's public safety committee to review the trip, Aldermen Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, said he would seek a full council investigation of the incident.

Snowden and Fire Capt. George Sherlock said last week that city policy requires a patient be taken to the nearest hospital unless it isan emergency and the patient can be treated only at a different hospital.

In the case of Snoops, who hit her head and hurt her back, the nearest hospital would have been Anne Arundel MedicalCenter, about two blocks from the governor's mansion. City records show Snoops' transport was classified a "priority 3," the least urgentclassification.

Told that Snoops' regular doctor did not have privileges at the Annapolis hospital, Capt. Larry W. Tolliver, who headsthe governor's security detail, requested an ambulance to take her to Baltimore. When the battalion chief on duty denied the request because city policy prohibits using ambulances for non-emergency transfers, Tolliver called the mayor, who approved the transfer.

At 10:21 p.m, before the ambulance returned to Annapolis, a "911" call came inthat Sharps had suffered cardiac arrest. The second Annapolis ambulance was on another call, so a backup from Anne Arundel County was sent to Sharps' home.

The county ambulance arrived in eight minutes; the ambulance used for Snoops would have arrived two minutes sooner, city officials said. But Sherlock said time was not a factor in Sharps' case.

A city fire engine with emergency medical technicians aboard had arrived at the home before the county ambulance. But EMTs receive less training than paramedics and lack some of the emergency equipment found on ambulances.

Also tonight, the council will vote ona plan to boost the city's dwindling stock of affordable housing. Under the plan, the city would borrow $459,000 from a bank to buy aboutthree acres near Bywater Road and Greenbriar Lane.

The land wouldthen be deeded to the non-profit South County Residential Properties, which would build 35 town houses that would sell for about $75,000 each. The developer would borrow money from a bank to build the homesand would repay the city as they are sold.

The project also depends on a $100,000 federal grant, which has received tentative approvalfrom the state Community Development Administration.

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