Paramedic testifies he found Dziekanski already dead
Last Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2009 | 5:40 PM PT
An ambulance attendant at the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski testified Thursday that the man was dead before medical help reached him at Vancouver International Airport.
Allan Maciak told the Braidwood inquiry that it was apparent Dziekanski’s condition was critical the moment he and his partner entered the airport.
“It was obvious his facial features — what you could see of his face — was blue and cyanotic,” he said.
Maciak recalled that as he approached Dziekanski, he saw his body — lying chest down — on the floor with his hands cuffed behind him.
Both Dziekanski’s hands and face were blue.
Dziekanski’s appearance, according to Maciak, indicated he had not been getting oxygen for a period of time. The ambulance attendant testified he knelt down and rolled Dziekanski over and realized he had lost control of his bladder.
“What was your impression about his state of being?” asked Art Vertlieb, the inquiry lawyer.
“Mr. Dziekanski was dead,” responded Maciak.
The Polish immigrant died in 2007 after four Mounties used a Taser to restrain him. He had become agitated after wandering the airport for hours because a series of communications breakdowns kept him in a controlled area.
Dziekanski was immigrating to Canada from Poland and spoke little English.
CPR failed to revive him
Maciak administered CPR on a lifeless Dziekanski for almost half an hour, but failed to revive him.
Thursday’s testimony raises questions about what RCMP supervising officer Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson told the inquiry earlier. Robinson insisted he put Dziekanski on his side and continually monitored his pulse and breathing.
The officer’s first aid certification expired five years earlier.
Lawyers for the RCMP dismissed much of Maciak’s testimony by focusing their attention on the testimony of firefighters, who arrived 90 seconds ahead of paramedics.
Maciak also criticized firefighters who arrived on the scene before him for not reacting immediately to Dziekanski’s condition, but conceded it isn't clear whether they could have made a difference saving his life.
Corrections and Clarifications
- Allan Maciak did not criticize the RCMP for not reacting immediately to Robert Dziekanski's condition, as originally reported; he criticized firefighters who arrived at the scene before him. Also, Maciak testified Dziekanski appeared to have lost control of his bladder, not his bowels, as originally reported. March 27, 2009|7:44 a.m. PT
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