Interview with Theresa Klimaszewski

Date:March 6, 1997

SUPPLEMENT/CONTINUATION FL0520300/Clearwater Police Department 
Report No. 95-29158                       Offense Death Investigation 
Date of Report 3/6/97                     Location 644 Pierce Street 
Orig Incident Date 12/6/95                Victim Lisa McPherson 
VI Prosecute Yes No                       Investigator Det. Jorge Carrasquillo 
Previous Status Active Subject None Impound Inventory None 

Today is March 6, 1997. It is 1510 hours and I am interviewing Theresa....I'm gonna let you pronounce your last name... concerning the Lisa McPherson investigation. Present during the interview are just myself and Theresa.

Det. Carrasquillo: Would you pronounce your last name?
Klimaszewski: Klimaszewski.
Det. Carrasquillo: Klimaszewski. And what I want you Theresa is I want you to please state your personal information, being your name.., spell it for me...home of birth... Social Security number.., home phone number... and work phone number.
Klimaszewski: Okay. My name is Theresa Klimaszewski. It's K L I M A S Z EWSKI. And date of birth...
Det. Carrasquillo: Alright. Would you spell Theresa also?
Klimaszewski: Oh. T H E R E S A.
Det. Carrasquillo: And do you have a middle name?
Klimaszewski: Anne with an "e" at the end.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And then I need your home address.
Klimaszewski: Address is X Florida
Det. Carrasquillo: And your date of birth?

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Klimaszewski: 10/3/53.
Det. Carrasquillo: Social Security number?
Klimaszewski: X
Det. Carrasquillo: And your home and work telephone numbers?
Klimaszewski: Home is X. Work is X.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay Theresa, would you tell me what you recall about the ..the Lisa McPherson incident?
Klimaszewski: Okay. I.. I don't know how exactly I was called out to the van. I don't remember that at all. All I remember is walking outside the ambulance door and seeing the van there. There was.., the front door was open. There was a woman standing there and I talked to her about what the problem was. I talked to her for maybe...for less than a minute. And I really don't even remember what she said was wrong with this person, who I now know was Lisa. I am 99% sure she mentioned diarrhea but that's the only thing I can remember. And then I went into the back of the van to see if Lisa needed help getting out...umm...what I could do Umm... I couldn't really see well because it was dark out and she was in the back seat of the van...umm... on one of those bench seats. And she was in the far corner of the driver's side. And there was someone...another woman...young woman with her arm around Lisa's shoulder. And I really couldn't see well, Umm...I asked Lisa, she was feeling and she didn't answer me. Umm.. I touched her arm to see...just to kinda maybe if...see if she would open her eyes. And she didn't open her eyes. She was unresponsive.

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I checked her pulse.. ,her radial pulse...and I could not find one, I thought... sometimes if somebody has a really low blood pressure, you can't get a radial pulse but you'll be able to get a femoral and carotid. So I didn't... I still didn't know for sure at that time whether she had a pulse or not. And I could see Rick Pemberton, who was the triage nurse, through the window. He was triaging and I knew I needed help because I would never be able to get her out of that van. And so I believe I might've started to ask the woman who was in the front seat to get Rick...tell Rick to help me. But in any case, I went in myself and I told Rick that I needed him now. He immediately came out. He went into the van. Umm..he could not find a pulse. And I don't know know.., if anything else occurred. But I remember next going into.., back through the ambulance door to get some more help. And umm...our PCT came immediately with a wheelchair. And those two...maybe others...I'm not sure... put her into the wheelchair and we brought her right into Room 2, where they started resuscitation at that time.
Det. Carrasquillo: What else did you do?
Klimaszewski: Umm...I was.,. I was there for the resuscitation attempt. I know I tried to.. I was right next to another nurse called Roxanne. And I don't know if she was trying to start an I.V. and draw the blood and I was helping her or I was trying and she was helping me, We were kinda right next to each other

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helping. But that's all I remember in the resuscitation attempt.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Let me ask you a couple more back questions. What kind of background do you have?
Klimaszewski: I'm a registered nurse with a three-year diploma.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.. How many years have you been a registered nurse?
Klimaszewski: Since 74.
Det. Carrasquillo: And you've worked at this hospital how long?
Klimaszewski: Since 91.
Det. Carrasquillo: So you've been involved in a lot of emergency medical situations basically?
Klimaszewski: I've been an emergency nurse since 79.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. When you went out to the van and you first made contact with Lisa, what was your opinion of her condition? Klimaszewski:. Umm...well, at first I really didn't know. She had her eyes closed and I thought maybe she was just resting and really weak. Umm...but it wasn't until, you know, I tried to wake her up and she didn't respond... she was unresponsive and I couldn't find the radial pulse... I knew that she had something definitely seriously wrong with her.
Det. Carrasquillo: So what was your opinion? Did you think she was dead?
Klimaszewski: No. Even though I didn't feel the radial pulse at first, I didn't...I just knew she was unresponsive and that's all I could say.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Well, you said you touched her. What was...what was the touch...what did it feel like?

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Klimaszewski: I just touched her arms and kinda...some people may not respond to verbal stimuli and you might touch them and they'll open their eyes. Umm...and that's....
Det. Carrasquillo: Did she....did she feel warm...did she feel cold?
Klimaszewski: I don't remember that.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And you mentioned she was sitting in the back against...behind the driver?
Klimaszewski: Behind the driver like..,
Det. Carrasquillo: Was she leaning against the window? Was she sitting straight up?
Klimaszewski: She seemed to recollection was she was sitting straight up. But then like I said, the other lady had her arm around her shoulder.
Det. Carrasquillo: So there were two ladies in the van?
Klimaszewski: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And did you have a conversation with the...with...not the one that was..had her arm around her.., but the other one..
Klimaszewski: The one that was in the front.., that I assumed was in the front because she was standing next to the open front door.
Det. Carrasquillo: Did she identify herself to you?
Klimaszewski: I don't believe so. I can't say for sure.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Now you said that you went and got Rick. Rick came out and you and Rick physically took her out of the van?
Klimaszewski: I did not. Umm... Rick went into the van and he had checked her further and couldn't find a pulse. I had gone...! went.., she...he.. after he said "I don't get a pulse," I went

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into the ambulance entrance and asked for help. And like I said, the PCT came out with the wheelchair. And those two...and maybe others that might have come out too.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Who...who is the PCT?
Klimaszewski: Umm....I'm 98% sure it was Willie Burdette.
Det. Carrasquillo: And what does PCT stand for?
Klimaszewski: Patient Care Technician... sort of like an orderly.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So Willie Burdette was one of them and..,
Klimaszewski: And Rick.
Det. Carrasquillo: And Rick.
Klimaszewski: Well,., if there were others, I don't recall.
Det. Carrasquillo: They took her out of the van?
Klimaszewski: Uh Huh.
Det. Carrasquillo: You're not...are you with them as they're bringing her in to the hospital?
Klimaszewski: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: In a wheelchair?
Klimaszewski: Uh Huh.
Det. Carrasquillo: Now you get into the hospital where there's light.
Klimaszewski: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: What did her condition appear to you to be?
Klimaszewski: Very poor. She was extremely pale.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And your opinion at that time was...?
Klimaszewski: Oh... she needed immediate resuscitation at that time.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Did you think she was dead at that time or...
Klimaszewski: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: Why did you think she was dead?

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Klimaszewski: Well...
Det. Carrasquillo: Because you saw her in the light as opposed to the van?
Klimaszewski: Well, first of all...umm...Rick had confirmed he could not find a pulse. And then she was just so pale she was white.
Det. Carrasquillo: No color?
Klimaszewski: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So she looked like somebody that had expired in your experience?
Klimaszewski: Umm...I can't say for how long but yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: There was no movement on her part...nothing?
Klimaszewski: Nothing...not from what I saw.
Det. Carrasquillo: So you're rolling her into the hospital and you take her right back to Room #2?
Klimaszewski: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And what happens in Room #2?
Klimaszewski: Umm...well, everybody was in Room 2 and they started resuscitation efforts under the doctor's direction:
Det. Carrasquillo: Who is everybody?
Klimaszewski: I.. I guess that isn't right. The emergency room nurses...! can't say for sure exactly who was there. The only one I remember specifically was Roxanne.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. What is Roxanne's last name?
Klimaszewski: I don't know how to say it but it's K O E L P I N.
Det. Carrasquillo: K 0 E L P...
Klimaszewski: I N.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Koelpin.
Klimaszewski: I think it's Koelpin...I don't know.

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Det. Carrasquillo: And she also assisted with Lisa?
Klimaszewski: Once she got into Room 2...right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And you said you tried to intubate her?
Klimaszewski: No...umm...establish an I.V.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. What doctors were in the room...if there was more than one?
Klimaszewski: The only one I recall was Dr. Minkoff.
Det. Carrasquillo: So it was Dr. Minkoff, yourself...
Klimaszewski: Uh Huh.
Det. Carrasquillo: Roxanne...
Klimaszewski: Uh Huh.
Det. Carrasquillo: Anybody else you can remember?
Klimaszewski: No. I know there were quite a few people in there but I don't remember who.
Det. Carrasquillo: Did you draw blood from Lisa?
Klimaszewski: It was either Roxanne or I. I remember getting the blood culture bottle and,..but I don't remember specifically. Like I said, we were helping each other and I don't remember specifically if it was me or Roxanne that drew the blood culture.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. While you long did you guys work on her roughly?
Klimaszewski: It wasn't very long and I wouldn't think it was more than ten minutes.
Det. Carrasquillo: And you made a determination that she was DOA?
Klimaszewski: Dr. Minkoff..umm,...we call it RHC.,.he called an RHC, which is Respiration Has Ceased. That's the hospital term.

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Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So ten minutes. During that time or after that, did you hear any conversations between...or did.., first of all, let me ask you... did you have any conversations with any of the individuals that brought her into the hospital?
Klimaszewski: I did not. I did not see them after my initial contact with them outside.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. While you had your initial contact with them, did you recall hearing any conversations between those individuals?
Klimaszewski: Not at all.
Det. Carrasquillo: Do you recall hearing any conversations between Dr. Minkoff and any of those individuals?
Klimaszewski: No. That wouldn't be my duty. That would be something that the supervisor, generally the charge nurse, would do.
Det. Carrasquillo: So your total exposure to Lisa was about how long?
Klimaszewski: I'd say roughly thirteen minutes.
Det. Carrasquillo: But when you...when you got her into the light and...and from the van into the light at that point in time, it was your opinion that she was already deceased?
Klimaszewski: Uh Huh.
Det. Carrasquillo: Yes or no.
Klimaszewski: Yes...I'm sorry.
Det. Carrasquillo: That's okay. It's tough to pick up sometimes on the tape.
Klimaszewski: Yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: What time did you get off duty that night?
Klimaszewski: I work till 11 p.m.

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Det. Carrasquillo: So were you on duty or did you have any further contact with Lisa or the situation? Like for,., for example, when the officer came in from New Port Richey?
Klimaszewski: No.. I.. I remember vaguely an officer coming in but I did not talk to him or hear or....
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay, so you were not...
Klimaszewski: Hear the
Det. Carrasquillo: You were not involved were not involved in calling the Medical Examiner or anything like that?
Klimaszewski: No. That's generally the charge nurse's responsibility.
Det. Carrasquillo: And who was that? Do you know?
Klimaszewski: I believe it was Barbara Schmitt.
Det. Carrasquillo: Her physical you remember what Lisa looked like physically?
Klimaszewski: I I said...her color looked extremely pale. When they brought her in...I read the papers and of course I've seen what the Medical Examiner said...and she said she was bruised. My...when I first saw her, my immediate thought to myself was petechia and my second thought was massive infection. And then my third thought was AIDS.
Det. Carrasquillo: that're're not swayed by what. you've read since?
Klimaszewski: No, it was...
Det. Carrasquillo: This is...
Klimaszewski: That was...
Det. Carrasquillo: At that moment you thought petechia, massive infection...

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Klimaszewski: And AIDS. And I wanted to put on gloves.
Det. Carrasquillo: Because of her...
Klimaszewski: Like I said, I just...! thought petechia, which can be caused by massive infection, and then I immediately thought AIDS.
Det. Carrasquillo: Was she like...looked sunk in...! mean did she look very very thin...?
Klimaszewski: She seemed to me...yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: So you thought it might've been a contagious disease?
Klimaszewski: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Did anybody mention that?
Klimaszewski: Umm..,not that I
Det. Carrasquillo: That was just your own observation?
Klimaszewski: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: And your own conclusions. Picturing her body, did you see any bruises at that time?
Klimaszewski: Well, I assumed that what the Medical Examiner...what I saw as petechia...the Medical Examiner saw as bruising.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. But under your...
Klimaszewski: That's the only markings I can recall.
Det. Carrasquillo: But under your opinion at that time, you wouldn't have classified those as bruises?
Klimaszewski: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So you didn' didn't see any physical bruises on her. How about on her face?.
Klimaszewski: I did not look hard at her face. I... I was busy trying to do the resuscitation at that time.

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Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. What about her dress? she look clean...did she look dirty?
Klimaszewski: Yes, she did look clean.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. SO physically know...her skin was clean...her hair was clean.
Klimaszewski: Uh Huh.
Det. Carrasquillo: What about her dress? Was it clean...was it dirty...was it disheveled?
Klimaszewski: That's not something I can recall. If it was extremely dirty or disheveled, I probably would've remembered that. But it doesn'tstrike me's hard to remember...
Det. Carrasquillo: What I'm trying to get at is she didn't look like a homeless person that was living on the street?
Klimaszewski: Oh no, not at all.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Is there anything else that you can think of that we haven't covered that you think might be important?
Klimaszewski: I really can't think of anything. It's just been so long! haven't really...don't recall anything else.
Det. Carrasquillo: And I...and I know you said, you've read the paper. But I'm trying to get your input prior to the articles you read in the paper.
Klimaszewski: The...the circumstances of know...the narrative of what happened... that's not changed by the newspaper. Umm...what I thought... like I said, the immediate thought was something contagious...petechia...infection...AIDS. And that's all I really thought about it.
Det. Carrasquillo: Have you ever seen other patients with petechia before?

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Klimaszewski: Sure.
Det. Carrasquillo: Is it common? Klimaszewski:. It's not rare. I wouldn't say it happens often but it isn't rare,
Det. Carrasquillo: What about a staph infection? Is that common? your experience of course.
Klimaszewski: I see staph infections. Working in the Emergency Room, we'll do blood cultures for things like that. And we don't have any followup to find out exactly what happened. I... I really don't know. I mean we see staph and wound infections but...
Det. Carrasquillo: And in this particular case, you don't recall who did the blood draw? Or was blood drawn?
Klimaszewski: Oh yes. It was either,..umm...for the culture I know it was either Roxanne or I.
Det. Carrasquillo: And that was at the direction of Dr
Klimaszewski: Minkoff.
Det. Carrasquillo: And.,, and it came right from the patient. And what did you do with the blood? If...if you would've...
Klimaszewski: We....
Det. Carrasquillo: If you would've drawn it, what would have been the normal procedure?
Klimaszewski: Well, after you draw it, you just place it on the counter and then it'll get labeled. At that time, I'm not sure exactly. We've changed our procedures for labels. I think at that time...yeah, I'm sure we used to just do it ourselves and label the blood and send it to the lab.

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Det. Carrasquillo: But you can't remember if it was you or Roxanne who did that?
Klimaszewski: No, I.. I don't...
Det. Carrasquillo: I think that's about all we needed to cover at this point in time. Your...your involvement was minimal?
Klimaszewski: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: had first contact with her in the van.
Klimaszewski: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: And there were no vital signs that you could detect.
Klimaszewski: Correct.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. You went and got Rick.
Klimaszewski: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: He came back out with you. She was removed from the van. You don't recall exactly how.
Klimaszewski: It would've been Willie,..if it was Willie...the PCT and Rick,
Det. Carrasquillo: And Rick.
Klimaszewski: And I don't know of anybody else.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And then as they started bringing her into the hospital...was it a long distance from the van to the hospital area where it's lit?
Klimaszewski: Oh no, it's immediately outside the ambulance door.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So from the moment that she was put into the light where you could see her, you came to the conclusion that she was deceased.
Klimaszewski: Correct,
Det. Carrasquillo: Because of her physical appearance. And.., and how much time had elapsed would you say from the time that you saw

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her in the back of the van to the time you came to the conclusion that she was deceased?
Klimaszewski: From when I first initially saw her in the more than three minutes.
Det. Carrasquillo: So within three minutes, there was no doubt in your mind that this lady was deceased.
Klimaszewski: Correct.
Det. Carrasquillo: That's going to be it at this point in time. But if I have any other questions, I can call you over the phone because now you know my voice and I know yours. And if there's anything I need to cover, I'll go ahead and contact you and we'll do it over the phone. Uh...we're gonna conclude this interview at 1532 hours.

Ofc. Reporting Det, Jorge Carrasquillo/elg ID No. 630 Case Status Active Date Cleared ______________ Clearance Type Exception Type 1. Arrest 1. Extradition declined 3. Death of Offender 2. Adult Juvenile 2. AR of primary offense, 4. V/W refused to cooperate 3. Unfounded secondary offense, 5. Prosecution declined w/o prosecution 6. Juv/No Custody Ofc. Reviewing Date SAO info