by Max Brantley
Stephens Media has a full report on the death in Clinton of lawyer and restaurant owner Brett Blakney, who died about six hours after he'd been hit by a man he barred from his Black Dog Grill.
The article, written primarily by Anita Tucker of the Van Buren County Democrat, reports problems in getting an ambulance to take Blakney from a local hospital to Little Rock for more advanced treatment. Blakney had originally been conscious, talking to officers and identified his assailant from a photo. It quoted Police Officer Eric Koonce:
Koonce also wrote that after he spoke with Blakney, he and other officers outside the hospital emergency room noticed some of the nursing staff upset because they couldn’t get a helicopter to fly Blakney to Little Rock for treatment.
The nurses said the local ambulance company, Southern Paramedics, could not transport because it had just one ambulance in the county at that time and could not leave the county unattended, the report said.
A nurse later walked by the officers and “stated ‘if he’s not transported, he’s going to lay here with that head injury and bleed to death,’” Koonce wrote.
Koonce wrote that he went back to the police station to begin writing the report and he received a call about 4 a.m. that Blakney had died.
This should prompt a review of the newish statewide trauma system and how well it functioned in this circumstance.