Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blizzard Destroys NYC Ambulance Readiness

With Ambulances Stuck in Snow, New York City Abandons Emergency Response ; Leaves Residents Open To Harm And Injury ; With No Ambulance, Baby Died In Crown Heights Following Delivery.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg defended the city’s response to the storm on Tuesday, and called the digging out of ambulances the city’s first priority. He said nearly 170 stranded ambulances had been dug out by emergency crews, with 40 more still stuck Tuesday morning. Still, the impassibility of many streets made routine ambulance runs into odysseys, sometimes with life-threatening or fatal consequences.

In East Midwood, volunteer ambulances managed to complete nine calls on Monday between getting stuck in drifts and between abandoned cars. One was to a 74-year-old woman on Lawrence Avenue who appeared to be having a stroke. Her home-health aide had called 911 at 9 a.m. on Monday, said Yakov Kornitzer, the chief of operations for the East Midwood Volunteer Ambulance company, and in the early afternoon, she finally ran to the local precinct station for help.

When the ambulance arrived at 3 p.m., it was unable to get closer than several blocks away. Two emergency workers, two paramedics and six police officers carried her on a stretcher through knee-deep snow, but by then she was unresponsive and her limbs were already flexed, indicating serious damage to her brain tissue.

“We did the best we could,” Mr. Kornitzer said. “If small cars wouldn’t have gotten stuck, we would have been able to get through.”

Source : The New York Times : Read the article, to learn about the outrageous story about the baby who died following delivery in Crown Heights : it took almost 9 hours from the time that the 911 emergency call was made until paramedics could show up to treat a woman in labor -- by the time they arrived, paramedics found that the baby had been delivered, but it was not breathing : Snow Blocks Hundreds of Ambulances From Patients

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