EMT dies on job in Pontiac

Man dies of heart attack while transporting psychiatric patient

Bill Rose
Bill Rose

PONTIAC, Mich. – An EMT worker died when he suffered a heart attack while helping to transport a psychiatric patient in Pontiac.

Former firefighter and veteran EMT Bill Rose, 42, was helping transport the patient from Common Ground to Doctors Hospital next door.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner said Rose's cause of death was accidental. He did have an enlarged heart, but died after suffering a heart attack caused by stress while trying to handle the patient.

Eric Simmons was Rose's partner at Star EMS. He said the 19-year-old patient on the stretcher was cooperative. However, the teen suddenly unbuckled his two safety belts and tried to get away.

"(The patient) attempted to run. There was a slight struggle," Simmons said. "We had him under control and were requesting more help from inside. While we were holding the patient for a moment of two, Bill hunched over."

Simmons and bystanders put Rose on the empty stretcher and rushed him to the emergency entrance up the street.

"Unfortunately Bill didn't survive," Simmons said.

Rose served in Iraq and worked as a firefighter in South Carolina.

"He was our rock," said his fiance, Julie Lingenfelter. "He was my knight in shining armor. He always put his family first. He always had a smile on his face for people."

Rose had worked for Star EMS since 2008. He was studying to be a paramedic.

"It hits a company like us with a compassionate people bonded like this, to have one go that way," said Bill Grubb, president and CEO of Star. "It hits us extra hard. Bill was one of those employees -- I tell people if we had a hundred of them our company would be even better. He was always positive, always compassionate."

About 20 employees of Star EMS gathered today for a stress debriefing.

The psychiatric patient was captured in Independence Township and was being held at the Oakland County Jail. Even though it was ruled an accidental death, the Sheriff's Department will submit the case to the prosecutor's office on Thursday.