Missing lift car returned to Goshen Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Goshen. The $4,500 piece of equipment was inadvertently left behind following a service call to take a patient from an office building in Goshen to the hospital in the Town of Wallkill.

Goshen /
| 23 Sep 2020 | 10:51

Goshen Volunteer Ambulance Corps president George Lyons was showing a reporter a lift chair set up on the sidewalk outside the service’s headquarters when a police car pulled up.

“Better get that chair inside,” the officer joked.

But it was no laughing matter when a GOVAC crew discovered it had left the $4,500 chair behind Monday, Sept. 14, when it transported a patient Lyons said was in “pretty serious condition” from LAN Associates at the corner of Main Street and Orange Avenue in Goshen to Garnet Regional Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill.

By the time the crew returned and the police arrived around 11 a.m., the chair was nowhere to be found.

Significant impact

Ambulance crew discovered chair was missing when they returned to Goshen from the hospital and were doing their routine post-run check.

Because state regulations require that such chairs be available in all ambulances, the disappearance cut GOVAC’s fleet to one rig from two.

However, thanks to the effort of the village police and Rhinebeck Bank, the chair was returned the next day.

Michael Milimow, an assistant vice president at LAN, called the ambulance at around 8:50 to 9:15 a.m. He said the ambulance crew used the chair because its gurney did not fit in the elevator and the layout of the firm’s second floor offices would have made it difficult the reach the patient.

The driver ‘thought it was a piece of junk’

Lyons called the bank, which is located on the first floor of the building that houses the LAN offices and asked if it could check its security camera footage.

Lyons said the film showed a man loading the chair in his car – Lyons says it was a Porsche – in the LAN section of the parking lot and driving away. The license plate was clearly visible, allowing Detective Gregory Kellmen and Patrolman Michael Feo to track down the man’s Campbell Hall address and phone number.

The driver “thought it was a piece of junk,” Lyons said.

Feo said that as he was driving to Campbell Hall he saw many discarded household goods waiting for the annual fall cleanup. He said that the Campbell Hall man readily surrendered the chair. “He was a good guy” Feo said.

No charges were filed because the chair was not marked as GOVAC property, an oversight that has since been remedied.

“Rhinebeck Bank was thankful to be able to partner with the Village of Goshen Police Department in returning a valuable piece of medical equipment to the department it belongs,” the bank said in a statement by Information Security Officer Seanne Crozier.

(The patient here was released from the hospital on Thursday, Sept. 17.)

‘The focus is on the patient’

Accident calls can be hectic and equipment can be misplaced.

“The focus is on the patient,” Lyons said. He was not on the LAN Associates call, but he remembers leaving a medical bag on the pavement of a multiple fatality accident. A police officer at the scene handed it back to him.

Lyons doesn’t care that no charges were filed in the current incident. “I’m just so glad it was returned so quickly.”