A Dunwoody City Council member is calling for DeKalb County to terminate its contract with American Medical Response ambulance service following the alleged assault of a local teen patient by an EMT.

The council is slated to discuss the issue at its Monday, May 21 meeting.

Dunwoody Police arrested Deannah Williams, an EMT with AMR, on May 12, after she allegedly punched a teen patient who was being transported to a hospital for a mental evaluation, according to 11 Alive News. Williams told police she was reacting to being spit on by the patient. She was fired from her job.

City Council member Terry Nall requested a discussion of AMR be included on Monday’s agenda following the incident. This incident also follows numerous complaints City Council members have expressed over several months about poor response times from the service. Nall said he is calling for DeKalb County to terminate its contract with AMR.

“DeKalb County leadership needs to step up and terminate the AMR contract and replace its EMS vendor ASAP, as the life safety situation is dire. Here in Dunwoody, we must pursue other EMS options to better serve our citizens, as public safety is our Job #1,” Nall said in an email.

“Dunwoody continues to receive unsatisfactory Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from the county vendor, American Medical Response (AMR), which is contracted by DeKalb County. The new reports of EMS incidents over the last few days, weeks and months demonstrate that our level of EMS service provided by AMR continues to deteriorate,” he added in the email. “Inferior response times and now, inferior patient care, cannot be tolerated.”

Council dissatisfaction with AMR dates back to at least 2016 when members called the AMR regional manager and DeKalb Fire & Rescue Chief Darnell Fullum to answer tough questions posed on quality of service. AMR is contracted through DeKalb Fire & Rescue.

At the council’s Feb. 15 retreat, City Manager Eric Linton showed that American Medical Response ambulance times in Sandy Springs and Johns Creek averaged at 8 minutes and 20 seconds. In DeKalb County, AMR’s average response time is 9 minutes and 39 seconds, while in Dunwoody that average is 10 minutes and two seconds.

DeKalb County’s 5-year contract with AMR expires at the end of this year.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.