Organizers of a half-marathon in San Francisco where a runner died last weekend disputed today statements by city emergency and fire officials about whether adequate medical resources were provided for the event.
Peter Hass, 36, of Orinda, died in Golden Gate Park near the finish line of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon on Sunday morning, according to the San Francisco medical examiner’s office.
Hass was pronounced dead near 47th Avenue and John F. Kennedy Drive at about 10:15 a.m. after collapsing near the 13.1-mile mark of the race. An autopsy was performed, but the cause of death won’t be determined until further testing is completed by the medical examiner’s office.
On Tuesday, Rob Dudgeon, deputy director of the city’s Office of Emergency Services, said RhodyCo Productions, the San Francisco-based organizer of the race, submitted an emergency plan for the event and “had medical assets in place…but it’s apparent that those assets were insufficient.”
San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge added Tuesday that, “There was nobody from their medical team or whoever they had there that was ever on scene at that incident.”
A statement released by RhodyCo today refuted the claim that no one on the private medical team hired by the company assisted Hass after he collapsed.
“We are very surprised that the SF Fire Department is making statements about this tragic incident without having done any review with us,” the statement said.
“Our review confirms that a medical doctor crossed the finish line 13 seconds after Peter Hass collapsed. A RhodyCo supervisor was at the scene within 60 seconds.”
The supervisor “confirmed that a medical doctor was performing CPR. He called 911, and he began securing the area to keep the crowd from interfering with medical care,” the statement said.
RhodyCo officials acknowledged that the private ambulance hired for the event had been called away to a runner in distress elsewhere along the course when Hass collapsed, but said the company had two tents staffed by qualified medical personnel near the finish line.
The event’s medical team “also confirmed that a medical doctor was administering CPR, and they delivered an (automated external) defibrillator to the scene,” the company’s statement said.
Medics from the San Francisco Fire Department were called to the scene because the event’s lone ambulance was occupied, but it took them 22 minutes to get there because three different locations were given by people calling 911, including an initial caller who gave a location on the other end of Golden Gate Park, Talmadge said.
The city’s Office of Emergency Services is investigating the incident to “find out what happened and why it happened, to look at the policies and procedures to make sure it never happens again,” Dudgeon said.
The statement by RhodyCo said, “While we believe initial claims of delays in medical response are unwarranted, we understand and share the struggle to comprehend such a devastating loss. We will cooperate with any investigation that may lead to a better understanding of the events of that morning.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News