Was it an act of compassion or a criminal breach of medical procedure?
Two FDNY paramedics are accused of lying about administering aid to a dying 71-year-old Dongan Hills man -- aid they didn't provide because they sympathized with the patient's wife, who didn't want him to be revived but couldn't find his "do not resuscitate" paperwork, sources familiar with the case said. The paramedics – Daniel Ornstein, 33, of the 100 block of Presentation Circle in Arden Heights, and Joseph Farrell, 39, of the 600 block of Castleton Avenue in West Brighton -- were responding to a "difficulty breathing" call at the man's house the morning of July 12, 2014, according to law enforcement sources. When they arrived, the man, who suffered from Lou Gehrig's Disease, was in cardiac arrest, and emergency medical technicians were performing CPR. The man's wife became upset, though stating that he had a do not resuscitate, or DNR, order, and didn't want to be brought back to life, sources said. She couldn't find the DNR paperwork though, and could only provide health care proxy paperwork, which the paramedics aren't allowed to accept, sources said. The paramedics wrote in official reports that Farrell administered an endotracheal tube to the patient, and Ornstein administered intravenous medications, but in fact they did none of those things, according to a criminal complaint against them. The man was ultimately pronounced dead, and at one point a supervisor arrived at the scene, sources said. The supervisor reviewed the paperwork and realized that paramedics had detailed treatment they never administered, and questioned them on it, sources said. "They admitted to it," one source familiar with the case said, adding that the paramedics admitted that they had sympathized with the wife. That supervisor, realizing he could face sanctions if the false reports came to light, reported the discrepancies himself, sparking a Department of Investigation probe that ended with Farrell and Ornstein's arrest Wednesday, sources said. The FDNY had initially meant to handle the matter internally, and had put the two paramedics on restricted duty, but the Department of Investigation pushed for criminal charges, the source familiar with the investigation said. The man's family declined comment on Thursday. Sources said they did not wish to be involved in the investigation, and had no complaints about the paramedics' response. Both men are charged with first- and second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and second-degree falsifying business records, according to information from Acting District Attorney Daniel Master's office. The top charge is a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison if they're convicted at trial. They were arraigned and released on their own recognizance. FDNY spokesman James Long said Thursday that both Farrell and Ornstein have been suspended from the job. "We cannot comment further with an active investigation pending," Long said. Ornstein declined comment Thursday, and Farrell did not return a call seeking comment. In a statement Thursday, George Burbano, an executive board member of Local 2507, which represents the FDNY's EMTs and paramedics, said: