SALEM — A member of the town Budget Committee and Zoning Board was charged on Wednesday with obstructing government administration for allegedly barring firefighters from taking his wife to the hospital after she called 911.
Patrick McDougall, 37, turned himself in at the Salem police station on Wednesday and was booked on a Class B misdemeanor.
He was released on a court summons pending arraignment in 10th Circuit Court in Salem.
Police say McDougall's wife, Jane, called 911 on June 26 at 12:10 a.m.
“She had a pre-existing medical condition and felt she was in need of emergency medical treatment,” Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten said.
When Salem Fire & Rescue personnel arrived at her door, they were met by Patrick McDougall, who said his wife called 911 without his knowledge, according to police.
Paramedics were able to speak with Jane McDougall and assessed her medical condition, police said.
She again asked to be transported to the hospital, but Patrick McDougall “became very agitated and argumentative,” police said.
He told paramedics that he did not want his wife transported and that as her husband he had the right to refuse treatment for her, according to police.
Paramedics told McDougall he did not have the right to refuse medical treatment for his wife. McDougall accused the paramedics “of trying to get $800 from him for the (ambulance) transport,” police said in a statement.
Patten said a fire department supervisor and the police department responded to the house because of the argument.
Jane McDougall made a second 911 call, pleading several times for someone to help her and “that her husband was arguing with the firemen and refusing to let her be transported,” police said.
Police officers on the scene noted Jane McDougall “was in obvious distress, sweating profusely, crying, holding an ice pack on her head and repeatedly complaining of the pain she was in,” police said.
Patrick McDougall told police and fire officials he wanted it documented that his wife was going to be taken to the hospital against his will, but eventually the dispute was settled when he drove his wife to the hospital, according to police.
McDougall, a sitting member of the Budget Committee and Zoning Board of Adjustment, is the latest Salem official to run into trouble with the law over the past year.
Also in Salem a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, a member of the Planning Board and a former eighth-grade teacher have faced a variety of criminal charges. All of the cases are still pending in court.
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James A. Kimble may be reached at JKimble@newstote.com.