Lisa McPherson Files - Interview of Roxanne Koelpin

This is an interview with Roxanne Koelpin, a nurse at Columbia Hospital.

        FLO 520300 CLEARWATER P.D.                  AGENCY REPORT NO. 95-29158
        VI NAME(S): Lisa McPherson                  ORIG. DATE REPORTED: 12/6/95
        INCIDENT:  Death Investigation              VI WILL PROSECUTE: Y-X N
        LOCATION:   644 Pierce Street               PAGE 1 OF 11
        INVESTIGATOR: Detective Jorge Carrasquillo


     1  Today's date is March 13, 1997, the time is 1540 hours. This is an interview with Roxanne
     2  Koelpin and...concerning the Lisa McPherson investigation. Present during the interview are
     3  Sergeant Wayne Andrews of the Clearwater Police Department, and myself, Detective
     4  Carrasquillo.
     5  Det. Carrasquillo: For identification purposes would you please state your full name and I
     6                     need you to spell it. I also need your date of birth and social security
     7                     number, and then your home address and home telephone number and
     8                     work number. And if you forget, I'll remind you.
     9  Koelpin:           Okay. Roxanne, R-O-X-A-N-N-E; Jeanne, J-E-A-N-N-E; Koelpin, K-O-E-L-
    10                     P-I-N. I live at 4812 Elmwood Street, New Port Richey, 34653. My date
    11                     of birth is 1-13-60. Social Security number is XXX-XX-XXXX. And...
    12  Det. Carrasquillo: Your home number and work number.
    13  Koelpin:           Oh, okay. 813-849-5354 is my home number. And my work number is
    14                     845-9115, area code 813.
    15  Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. I'm going to go ahead and put you under oath, because the State
    16                     of Florida gives us the power to place people under oath. Raise your
    17                     right...right...raise your right hand please. Do you swear to tell the
    18                     truth, nothing but the whole truth to help you God?
    19  Koelpin:           I do.
    20  Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. What I want you to do, Roxanne, is, ah, from your recollections
    21                     tell me what you recall about, ah, the night, December 5, 1995, and Lisa
    22                     McPherson.
    23  Koelpin:           Okay. Well, as I recall the first time that I had seen the young woman,
    24                     ahm, we were just kind of a typical Tuesday night in December. We got
    25                     a call for, out front that there was needed a wheel chair to the double
    26                     doors. Well, next thing you know Rick, was the triage nurse that night,
    27                     another nurse I work with, he came in with the patient and a wheel chair,
    28                     said, I don't think she's breathing. I don't know if she's got a pulse or
    29                     not. We put her in our main code room, which is room two, and
    30                     immediately assessed her for the a, b, cs...air way, breathing,

SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FLO5O2O300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 2 of 11 31 circulation... .discovered no pulse, no.. .no spontaneous respirations and 32 we immediately started CPR. Ahm, continued CPR, I can't remember the 33 exact measures we took, its been quite a while since then, ahm, but I do 34 recall that we were not able to get any...any, ahm, spontaneous 35 breathing back or, ah, rhythm on the heart monitor or, ahm, a heart beat. 36 Ahm, I believe the doctor incubated her and we worked the vascular as 37 they were doing CPR and then, I guess at some point we called it, I can't 38 remember. Now I know with somebody with that age group we do tend 39 to, ahm, go quite...quite a while with somebody in that age group as far 40 as trying to revive them. 41 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Just for the record that is not me whistling in the background. 42 Koelpin: That's just the cockatiel. 43 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. When you said, ah, Rick brought Lisa into the hospital? 44 Koelpin: Yes, from the double doors in a wheel chair. 45 Det. Carrasquillo: Rick who? 46 Koelpin: Pemberton. 47 Det. Carrasquillo: Pemberton? Okay. Then where were you standing when you first 48 visually saw Lisa. 49 Koelpin: Oh, I was standing probably just right around the middle of room two on 50 our ...our major center of emergency room split up into two sides and I 51 was like right in that general area. 52 Det. Carrasquillo: How far were you from her when you made visual contact? 53 Koelpin: Oh, I don't know, 10, 15 maybe. 54 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, and when you first got a chance to analyze her what was your 55 conclusion? 56 Koelpin: Well, I...obviously we were working on a full code at that time, nobody 57 breathing and nobody with a heartbeat. 58 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, do you remember touching her? 59 Koelpin: Oh, yeah. 60 Det. Carrasquillo: What...what did she feel like? 61 Koelpin: Ahm... 62 Det. Carrasquillo: Warm? Sweaty? Hot? 63 Koelpin: Well, I don't think she was sweaty. My gosh, its been so long I can't 64 remember as far as that goes. As far as...I don't know. Ah... 65 Sgt. Andrews: That's okay, if you don't remember.
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 3 of 11 66 Koelpin: Yeah. 67 Sgt. Andrews: Because we know it was the year...over a year ago. 68 Koelpin: Yeah. 69 Det. Carrasquillo: Well, let me ask you this. In your mind did you...when you first saw her 70 did you visualize her to be in real bad medical condition, medical shape or 71 did you realize that she could be dead? 72 Koelpin: Well, I didn't think she looked too healthy. Ahm, she was rather skinny. 73 I remember that thinking what an awful skinny person. And I noticed 74 these little pin point bruises all over her legs and stuff, and her arms, 75 and... 76 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, did you notice any bruises around her face? 77 Koelpin: Ahm, not really. I...not...not so much her face. No. 78 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Did you draw blood from her? Do you remember drawing blood? 79 Koelpin: I...I can't remember who drew the blood. I know we started IVs and 80 stuff. I can't remember exactly who got them or whatever. I don't know 81 if blood, I can't remember. 82 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. You said a doctor incubated her. Do you recall which doctor? 83 Koelpin: Doctor Minkoff. 84 Det. Carrasquillo: Doctor Minkoff incubated her? 85 Koelpin: Mmmhmm. 86 Det. Carrasquillo: And did you see him actually see him succeed in incubating her? 87 Koelpin: Mmmhmm. 88 Det. Carrasquillo: Cause the reason I asked is because Doctor Minkoff admits that he 89 started to incubate her but couldn't. And Doctor Niles came in and... 90 Koelpin: Oh... 91 Det. Carrasquillo: ...and finished off the incubation. 92 Koelpin: Not to my... 93 Sgt. Andrews: Do you remember seeing him there? Doctor Niles? 94 Koelpin: Oh, yeah, they were both there. 95 Sgt. Andrews: Both there. Okay. 96 Koelpin: could have been Doctor Niles. 97 Sgt. Andrews: Okay. 98 Koelpin: It's been so long. 99 Det. Carrasquillo: So, when did you conclude in your mind, when did you come to the 100 conclusion that this female was dead?
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 4 of 11 101 Koelpin: When we finally decided, Doctors call the code. 102 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, and how long had that been? How long had you been working on 103 her when you called the code? 104 Koelpin: Oh, I can't remember. It...I think it was probably around, I don't 105 know...maybe around forty minutes or so. I...I can't remember. 106 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. 107 Koelpin: We've done many since then so... 108 Det. Carrasquillo: Understandable...understandable. Did you have any occasion to speak 109 with any of the individuals that brought her to the hospital? 110 Koelpin: No. Never saw no one. Never talked to no one. 111 Det. Carrasquillo: So you have no idea if she came with five people, one have 112 no idea who brought her to the hospital? 113 Koelpin: No, only by what, you know, Rick said some people in a van dropped her 114 off and that was pretty much all I know. 115 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, did you have any occasion to talk with the doctors about her 116 condition? 177 Koelpin: During the code? After, or.... 118 Det. Carrasquillo: During, after... 119 Koelpin: Well, we were just rather concerned. We were all kind of upset being as 120 young as she was, you know. I'm sure that we probably vented...while 121 that...of course I was, ahm, reading like, you know, that was when The 122 Hot Zone and all that stuff came out with the e-bola fever and I was like, 123 God, has this girl been out of the country? All these little bruises and 124 stuff and I was like... 125 Det. Carrasquillo: You're thinking contagious disease in the back of your mind? 126 Koelpin: Yeah, I was like...yeah, we were...and I...I dimly remember Teresa, and 127 Teresa Klimaszewski. I remember her going, Oh, you got kids. You 128 better put a mask on. And we were all gowning up and putting masks 129 and stuff on. 130 Det. Carrasquillo: So do you recall having a conversation with the doctor afterwards like, 131 What happened here, what.... 132 Koelpin: Yeah, you know, he thought perhaps she'd been real sick and, you 133 know.. 134 Det. Carrasquillo: Did he give you any reason or make any statements as to you that might 135 have been a contagious disease?
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 5 of 11 136 Koelpin: Well, he...I don't...I think he was He didn't think it was 137 contagious enough... 138 Det. Carrasquillo: Which doctor was this you spoke to? 139 Koelpin: I think it was Minkoff. 140 Det. Carrasquillo: Did you have an occasion overhear any conversations between 141 Doctor Minkoff and anyone that might have went...been with her? 142 Koelpin: Ahm, no. MmmMmm. 143 Det. Carrasquillo: Did you have any occasion to overhear any conversations between 144 Doctor Minkoff and Doctor Niles. 145 Koelpin: Not really. No. I mean, they always talk because they sit right next to 146 each other, but I really.. .at that point in time we had gotten somewhat 147 busier and with other people coming into the department so I...I, at that 148 point, didn't really listen to might hear what was going on. 149 Det. Carrasquillo: Did Doctor Minkoff ever come to you and tell you he was expecting a 150 patient? 151 Koelpin: Yeah. As a matter of fact I believe I was standing in the nurses station 152 he was talking to somebody, he was on a personal phone 153 call...something about bring her up, blah, blah, blah. know, I can't 154 remember...then I remember him getting off the phone and telling Rick 155 that he was expecting a young gal coming up with a couple of people 156 from Clearwater and she had a sore throat, wasn't feeling that well, let 157 him know when she got there. 158 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, do you recall who he was talking to, did he say? 159 Koelpin: MmmMmm. No. Just that he talked to some friend of his on the phone. 160 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Well, let's stop and go back...take it a piece at a time. Close your 161 eyes maybe it'll help you concentrate a little bit better. Lets close our 162 eyes and we're standing there in the emergency room and...and you can 163 see the doctor. He's on the phone? 164 Koelpin: Mmmhmm. 165 Det. Carrasquillo: And he's talking to somebody. 166 Koelpin: Mmmhmm. 167 Det. Carrasquillo: What are they saying? 168 Koelpin: Just that, you know, If you think she's sick bring...bring her up, and I 169 dimly remember something to the effect, However, if she's seriously ill, 170 take her to the closest hospital, type of thing which we always tell
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 6 of ll 171 every.. .that's our standard... 172 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, so you recall him saying something along the lines if she's that sick 173 take her to the closest hospital. 174 Koelpin: If she...if she were to be know, I mean, he didn't know, of 175 course, on the phone you can't... 176 Det. Carrasquillo: Well, it's tough to gauge. I understand that. 177 Koelpin: And know, under his...his, you know, he wouldn't want 178 anybody to be driving from point A to point B, you know, when point A 179 has the closer hospital. 180 Det. Carrasquillo: It would make sense to me. And how far away were you when you 181 overheard this conversation? 182 Koelpin: Oh, gosh, probably not more than five, six feet away. 183 Det. Carrasquillo: So you basically heard one side of the conversation. 184 Koelpin: Oh, yes. Yes. 185 Det. Carrasquillo: Who else was in that area when...can you recall? 186 Koelpin: Well, I think Rick was there...Barb, the charge nurse may...may have 187 been in, secretaries...I can't remember who was there...mostly who was 188 there that night. 189 Det. Carrasquillo: Well, you said earlier Doctor Niles and him sit side by side? 190 Koelpin: Yeah he could have been off...I don't recall if he was actually sitting 191 there at that point in time. He may have been off seeing other people. 192 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. But, you do recall the conversation and then he got off the phone, 193 he walks over to Rick, and we're talking about Doctor Minkoff. 194 Koelpin: Mmmhmm. 195 Det. Carrasquillo: Walked over to Rick and tells him what? 196 Koelpin: He tells him he's expecting a patient coming in and to just, you know, let 197 him know when she got there. 198 Det. Carrasquillo: And...and I thought earlier you mentioned he did give some symptoms. 199 Koelpin: Yeah, something about a...I do remember something about like a sore 200 throat type, or upper respiratory type thing. 201 Det. Carrasquillo: When did you come to the realization that Lisa McPherson was the 202 patient he was expecting? 203 Koelpin: I don't some point during the code, ahm, Doctor Minkoff or 204 Rick...Rick said something to the effect of, Some women just, I don't 205 know, somebody dropped her off in a Van, and you know, Doctor
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 7 of 11 206 Minkoff's like, I think this might be the one I'm looking for, you know, 207 that's supposed to come. I don't know, you know, something to that 208 effect. It was like... 209 Det. Carrasquillo: Right. 210 Koelpin: know, one of those things. 211 Det. Carrasquillo: Well, it was a while ago. It was a year and a half ago and if you don't 212 remember, you don't remember. Ah, if you think that's what you heard, 213 then that's...just let me know what you think, you know... 214 Koelpin: Yeah. 215 Det. Carrasquillo: We're just trying to get a general idea of what was going on that night. 216 Ahm, after you pronounced, I...I guess's not your way...youse 217 guys have another terminology. 218 Koelpin: It's called RHC for respirations have ceased. 219 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Once you've pronounced RHC what did you do after that? 220 Koelpin: Ahm, well, at that point in time usually the charge nurse will take over 221 most of the responsibility of the patient. We leave anything...if the 222 patient's been incubated, IVs left in, anything that we have done to the 223 patient we leave in place until the, ahm, medical examiner has, ahm, 224 cleared us to remove it. So at that point in time we left everything pretty 225 well in tact. 226 Det. Carrasquillo: And...and you don't recall if you drew the blood or not. 227 Koelpin: Yeah, I'm not sure...gosh, now I' that I'm thinking more I think 228 some, that some blood may have been drawn, but I can't remember 229 who'd know, I think...I don't know. It may have been Theresa. 230 I don't know. 231 Det. Carrasquillo: Theresa feels that you drew the blood. 232 Koelpin: Oh... 233 Det. Carrasquillo: She's not a hundred percent sure... 234 Koelpin: Okay. 235 Det. Carrasquillo: You know, but it was while back, so, but you do remember some blood 236 being drawn? 237 Koelpin:, now that I'm thinking about it. Yeah. 238 Sgt. Andrews: Let...let me ask you, ahm, normally in a case like this when somebody 239 comes in that looks like this would they have normally drawn blood? 240 Koelpin: Oh, yeah.
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 8 of 11 241 Sgt. Andrews: All...all the time? 242 Koelpin: Oh, most definitely. 243 Sgt. Andrews: try to get something in a blood work up for like blood 244 alcohol or whatever.... 245 Koelpin: Oh, yes. Definitely. 246 Sgt. Andrews: Okay, now we did subpoena the medical records. 247 Koelpin: Mmmhmm. 248 Sgt. Andrews: Now, should it be in the medical records who would have drawn the 249 blood? Would that be written on the chart by somebody? Normally? 250 Koelpin: Hopefully. 251 Sgt. Andrews: Okay. 252 Koelpin: Yeah. 253 Sgt. Andrews: Yeah, that's what I'm trying to get at. If I...if I go back to the medical 254 records... 255 Koelpin: Should be. 256 Sgt. Andrews: Should I be able to try to find somebody that said they drew blood. 257 Koelpin: Yeah, should be. You know, I know...I know that lab work, any results 258 would be on a...on a chart. 259 Sgt. Andrews: Yeah. Okay, I saw some lab results, but we did...weren't too sure how 260 or who got the blood drawn to get the lab results. 261 Koelpin: I know that we had switched over to a new computer system between 262 then and now and I know that on the lab work that we do now the 263 initials of who ever collected it would be on it. 264 Sgt. Andrews: Okay. 265 Koelpin: I mean, I can't... 266 Sgt. Andrews: I'll try to dig through it. You wouldn't mind if I dig all through that and I 267 find some documents I can get with you and we'd look at them... 268 Koelpin: No. 269 Sgt. Andrews: Okay. Good. 270 Det. Carrasquillo: Just to give me an idea, lets talk a little about your background. 271 long have you been a...are you a registered nurse? 272 Koelpin: Mmmhmm. 273 Det. Carrasquillo: How long have you been a registered nurse? 274 Koelpin: Five years. 275 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And how long have you been working the, ah, emergency
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 9 of 11 276 situation. 277 Koelpin: Five...five years, since I got out of school. 278 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, so...and have you always worked for Columbia? 279 Koelpin: Yup. 280 Det. Carrasquillo: So you've...youve been there since 1992? 281 Koelpin: Correct. 282 Det. Carrasquillo: So, in 1995 everything was pretty much second nature to you and old 283 hat. 284 Koelpin: Yeah, well, nothing's old hat. Every...every situation's different. But, 285 yeah, we have a certain protocol A...what we call ACLS, Advanced 286 Cardiac Life Saving... 287 Det. Carrasquillo: Right. Well, most of the things that will run across in an 288 emergency room you probably already experimented or...or dealt with 289 prior to 1995. 290 Koelpin: Oh, yeah. 291 Det. Carrasquillo: ...December of 95. When she came in were you shocked to see her 292 condition? 293 Koelpin: Well, I wasn't happy. I mean, you know, somebody in...that's around 294 your age group and comes in that way you're a little bit concerned. Of 295 course, like I said I was reading of those novels then, and...non 296 fiction type thing about the bola fever so I was a little... 297 Det. Carrasquillo: You were paranoid. 298 Koelpin: Yes, I was a bit paranoid. 299 Det. Carrasquillo: But, were...were you shocked? For example, what I'm trying to get at 300 is, if you were on the other side of the phone talking to Doctor Minkoff 301 and you're looking to that person that was rolled into the hospital in the 302 van, would you have droven up to.... 303 Koelpin: No way. 304 Det. Carrasquillo: What would you have done? 305 Koelpin: I would have gone right to the nearest hospital. 306 Det. Carrasquillo: Because of the appearance of that person when they got to you? 307 Koelpin: Oh, definitely. 308 Det. Carrasquillo: Would you think that appearance would have been the same an hour 309 later? Later on back...going back in time? 310 Koelpin: Oh, that....
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 10 of 11 311 Det. Carrasquillo: Hour prior... 312 Koelpin: That I couldn't possibly even tell you, you know, because I don't know 313 how long she...I...I mean, you know...I don't know. 314 Det. Carrasquillo: No, but just by looking at her condition, do you think she got from us to 315 that in an hour? 316 Koelpin: Probably not. 317 Det. Carrasquillo: So, it would be a safe assumption...I'm not medical at all. I'm just trying 318 to figure out in my mind, it would be a safe assumption to say that she 319 was probably somewhere near the same physical condition she was in an 320 hour prior to getting to the hospital. 321 Koelpin: That's possible, yeah. 322 Sgt. Andrews: Now when you described it, and I'm not trying to pin you down or 323 nothing, I understand its been a while ago, when you described it you 324 were kind of appalled the thinness of her. 325 Koelpin: Mmm. 326 Sgt. Andrews: Was there more to that then just the thinness? You know I...I can look 327 at some people and say, Geez, you know, that person to healthy. 328 Koelpin: 329 Sgt. Andrews: But then you can look at somebody and I've looked at dead bodies, you 330 know, you look at a dead body and you say, My goodness, you know, 331 look at the... you know some people call it pallor....other gray... 332 Koelpin: Right. 333 Sgt. Andrews: know, they're gray.... 334 Koelpin: She was... 335 Sgt. Andrews: Was that part of all of that...that first appearance? That thinness? She 336 looked gray? She didn't look good...okay... 337 Koelpin: Right. 338 Sgt. Andrews: Not just a mere thinness. 339 Koelpin: Right, she looked rather what we call cachetic. 340 Sgt. Andrews: Okay. 341 Det. Carrasquillo: What does that mean? 342 Koelpin: That's, you know, cancer patients that kind of a look.. .that's what they 343 would call, you know, with a loss of weight and.. 344 Sgt. Andrews: Sunken cheeks... 345 Koelpin:
SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL05020300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense: Death Investigation Date of Report: 03/12/97 Page 11 of 11 346 Sgt. Andrews: Yeah, okay. 347 Det. Carrasquillo: Well, what about her attire? How was she dressed? 348 Koelpin: Ahm, if I recall, it's like a t-shirt, pants of some sort... 349 Det. Carrasquillo: Did she look clean, dirty... 350 Koelpin: I...I don't believe the clothes were rather... 351 Det. Carrasquillo: ...grubby... 352 Koelpin: ...I don't think the clothes were clean, clean. But they certainly, if I 353 recall, they didn't look seriously bad. 354 Det. Carrasquillo: What about her hair? Did it look she had... 355 Koelpin: Her hair looked like it was slept on. 356 Det. Carrasquillo: Slept on? 357 Koelpin: Yeah. 358 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Now everything youve told me is from your own personal 359 recollection and not from Inside Edition, 20/20, Saint Pete Times, Tampa 360 Tribune. Have you read any of those papers... 361 Koelpin: Well, nat... 362 Det. Carrasquillo: ...or seen those shows? 363 Koelpin: Well, I've, you know, I've read some of the Saint Pete Times articles and 364 I haven't seen any really...I've seen so much channel 8 news but... 365 Det. Carrasquillo: But that has not affected what you're telling me...that is strictly total 366 recall from you being there and hands on. 367 Right...exactly. 368 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. I don't have any more questions. Do you? 369 Sgt. Andrews: No. None...none what so ever. 370 Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. We're going to go ahead and conclude this interview at 1600 371 hours. OFC. REPORTING:___________ ID NO: DATE: CASE STATUS: _____ EXCEPTION TYPE: _____ DATE CLEARED: CLEARANCE TYPE _____ 1. Extradition Declined I. Arrest 2. AR of Prim. Offense, Secondary Offense. w/o Pros Adult ___Juv ___ 3. Death of Offender 5. Prosecution Decl Exceptional 4. V/W Refused to Cooperate 6. Juv./No Custody Unfounded OFC. REVIEWING: (signed) W. C. Andrews DATE: 4-4-97 SA INFO: