published Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

EMT, paramedic on leave during inquiry of rescued man's treatment

  • photo
    A no-trespassing sign is nailed to a tree adjacent to the high ropes course at Greenway Farm in Hixson.
    Photo by Jenna Walker.
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Two Hamilton County emergency responders are under investigation into whether they delivered the wrong dosage of medication to a man who was rescued after he was found hanging by his ankle on a challenge course, officials said.

County paramedic Timothy Waldo and EMT Jamie Jackson were put on administrative leave without pay after an internal investigation began Thursday, said Don Allen, administrator of human services for Hamilton County.

That was the same day the two rescued 57-year-old Melvin Davis, who was dangling from a rope on a challenges course at Greenway Farms in Hixson. The course has both ropes and structure challenges.

Davis, who told the hiker who found him that he had been hanging by his ankle for two days, is still in critical condition at Erlanger hospital.

Allen would not say what medication was administered or who complained about the medical care of Davis. Results of the investigation will be released this morning, he said.

In a statement, Davis' children asked for privacy.

"We thank the entire community for its concern," the statement reads. "What happened to our father is unimaginable, but through God's grace he is surviving. Our father is very loved, and we ask for continual prayers and support. We are also so thankful to the individual who rescued our father and called for help."

It's unclear why Davis was on the challenge course by himself, said Philip Grymes, executive director of Outdoor Chattanooga, which manages Greenway Farms. The course is not open to the public, Grymes said, and there are no ropes on it unless it is an event being supervised by the Adventure Guild, which runs the course.

There was "a sign saying stay off. In order to access it he had to remove a safety precaution to get there," said Grymes, who went to the site the day after Davis was found. "I don't know why anyone would do it."

The structure Davis was dangling from wouldn't have ropes even if the Adventure Guild was running a challenge, Grymes said. Someone brought a rope and tied one end to the structure's banister. Davis got his foot caught in a loop tied on the rope's loose end, Grymes said.

"I don't know how somebody could get themselves in that position without trying," he said.

Update: Paramedic demoted after treating man found hanging from ankle for 2 days

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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