City ambulance takes 1/2 hour to come to aide of Quinn intern

Brooklyn Currents | 7/17/2013 | 0 comments

City Council  Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said "it was outrageous" that a 911 ambulance took more than a half-hour to arrive when a young campaign aide collapsed from the heat at a Tuesday, July 16 campaign stop in Williamsburg.

The ambulance took 31 minutes to come, Quinn said. The 18-year-old intern was conscious and talking, and a police detective in Quinn's security detail at the scene gave the girl oxygen and monitored her pulse while they waited.

An aide to Quinn finally placed a call to Hatzolah, the Jewish-run volunteer ambulance service, which took a few minutes to come and take the girl to the hospital.

"I don't know what could have taken so long to get this [city] ambulance to help this young girl, but you can rest assured I am going to find out," Quinn told reporters at the scene.

Quinn said later Tuesday that the intern was out of the hospital at home with her family and appeared to be fine. She apparently had become dehydrated, Quinn said.

A fire department spokesman said the call was not considered a high priority because the girl was alert and breathing.

FDNY statement:

"Every call for medical assistance is important and ambulance dispatching is prioritized so life threatening calls—for a choking child, cardiac arrest or chest pains—take precedence over non-life threatening injuries—where the patient is breathing, alert and communicating. That was the case here. In addition, the patient was being treated by a police officer who is an EMT, so care was being administered from the moment the incident occurred. The call was appropriately tagged as not being a high-priority, life-threatening call. Additionally, some ambulances are kept strictly in reserve for life-threatening calls, allowing for them to arrive in minutes, and they are not dispatched to lower priority incidents so they are not occupied when a life-threatening call comes in. With a high volume of calls during extreme heat, a call for a non-life threatening injury with an alert patient being treated by a trained EMT is appropriately not deemed a high priority, which in some cases like this one, means that it takes longer for an ambulance to get to the scene. But it is critical that life-saving resources be prioritized and used for high-priority, life threatening incidents."

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