FARMINGTON — The state office that oversees emergency medical services has dismissed the complaints against an ambulance service that cared for David Morse, who died en route to the hospital after a skiing accident at the Sugarloaf ski resort earlier this year.

The Maine Emergency Medical Services on Wednesday released the findings of its investigation into allegations by Morse’s wife, Dana Morse. She claimed the NorthStar ambulance crew that treated her husband after the accident did not care for him properly.

The investigation looked into the emergency response after David Morse skied off a trail and hit a tree about 3:45 p.m. Jan. 12 and followed the response until after Morse, 41, of Harmony, Nova Scotia, died shortly after 5 p.m. en route to the hospital.

Among the reports findings, the ambulance service has been cleared of any violations of state emergency medical service rules or statutes in connection with the care provided to Morse.

Investigators also confirmed that Dana Morse had been riding in the ambulance taking her husband to the hospital and was dropped off alongside the road in a snowstorm a short distance into the trip, the report states.

When her husband died, the ambulance returned to the ski resort rather than continue to the hospital, which is about 45 miles away, the report states, adding Dana Morse traveled to the hospital in another vehicle, unaware that her husband had died.

Jay Bradshaw, director of Maine Emergency Medical Services, a division of the state Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday that the ambulance service will face no penalties or sanctions as a result of the investigation.

Bradshaw described Morse’s death as an unavoidable tragedy under the circumstances, saying he believes the investigation found emergency responders did “everything possible” to save his life.

“If I or a member of my family was injured and cared for in this manner, I would feel comfortable that everything was done that could have been done,” Bradshaw said, referring to the findings.

Bradshaw noted the skiing accident happened in a remote area during a snowstorm, making it difficult to get Morse to the nearest hospital in Farmington, at least an hour’s drive from the ski resort in Carrabassett Valley.

The nearest trauma center, Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, is at least a two-hour drive away, and the snowstorm prevented LifeFlight helicopters from responding, the report states.

The investigation consisted of a series of witness interviews and reviews of official reports by the various emergency response agencies involved, Bradshaw said.

Investigators made no findings about Dana Morse getting dropped off, which is a situation that did not violate state protocols, Bradshaw said.

“It’s awful that this happened, but there is nothing that speaks to that in Maine EMS protocols,” he said of the scenario.

Because the ambulance crew was treating the patient in the back, a ski patrol member was driving the ambulance and let Dana Morse get out alongside the road, the report states.

Bradshaw said it’s impossible to know the details about the discussion between Morse and the ski patrol member, which led to her getting dropped off less than a mile into the trip.

“There was a lot of confusion. We don’t know for certain what type of discussion took place,” Bradshaw said.

Dana Morse did not respond to a message left Wednesday on the answering machine of her home phone number.

The report finds only that a paramedic involved with the response may have violated standards for report documentation, though it “does not rise to a level warranting disciplinary action.” That paramedic was given official advice on how to address the issue, which is documented and monitored by the state office, the report states.

Franklin Community Health Network owns the hospital in Farmington and the ambulance service. In a statement Wednesday, the health network said the results of its internal review of the incident are aligned with the Maine EMS investigation findings.

Hospital officials declined requests for interviews about the matter.

Ethan Austin, communications manager for Sugarloaf, said Wednesday the resort also conducted an internal review of the resort’s emergency response to the accident. That internal review found no violations of policies or protocols in connection with the ski patrol response, he said.

David F. Robinson — 861-9287

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