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Home > Topics > Community Awareness

NY woman waits hour for ambulance, community outraged

Multiple people called 911 after the mayor's elderly neighbor fell and hit her head; no EMTs were initially available but an operator later raised the priority to life-threatening

New York Post

NEW YORK — An elderly neighbor of Mayor de Blasio lay on the floor with blood gushing from her head while waiting nearly an hour for an ambulance to answer repeated 911 calls — and was rescued only when a witness ran to Gracie Mansion to get help.

A caretaker and horrified neighbors bombarded 911 after Sandra Boucher, 89, took a tumble in the building’s mailroom on July 15, but the retired jewelry designer was left writhing in pain in one of the latest blunders involving the city’s troubled Unified Call Taker system.

“To be in New York City living right across from Gracie Mansion and to have it take 50 minutes to get an ambulance to finally come to take this old woman to the hospital, the whole thing was a total disaster,” fumed Richard Frances, 68, a neighbor and psychiatrist who angrily phoned 911 himself a half- hour after the initial call. “I felt as if she got as much care as if she lived in the Sahara Desert.”

Read full story: Ambulance takes an hour to answer call near Gracie Mansion

Comments
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Daniel Cox Daniel Cox Wednesday, September 03, 2014 2:41:21 PM Aww thee rich found out what reality of an over burdened system is like. Although this is sad, I have to laugh at the hypocrisy of this.
Archangel Winters Archangel Winters Wednesday, September 03, 2014 3:09:24 PM Cause none of those concerned neighbors could bother to puck her up and take her to the ER by private vehicle. God forbid.
Alan Yates Alan Yates Wednesday, September 03, 2014 4:26:07 PM Did any of these supposedly 'concerned' bystanders bother to stop the bleeding? I hope so since she would have bled out in '50 minutes'... The rich are different but if there are no units available to respond then the same rules apply as the ones for the poor folks. Instead of fixing the problem they'll probably fire some underpaid and overworked call taker.
Andrew T. Caruso Andrew T. Caruso Wednesday, September 03, 2014 4:32:50 PM This happens all day long, every day in affluent communities more so than urban in NJ. The only reason it made the news in NY is the connection to Gracie Mansion.
Chris Burnett Chris Burnett Wednesday, September 03, 2014 6:24:02 PM I do not serve a gated community. I am not on a Rescue in an affluent community, Accidents happen. I know there are places in my town that Rescue can't possibly get on scene in under 20 minutes. Sad but true. We strive for the best response times we can. If we are busy then we have an 8 fold mutual aid. I tell our patients "Please don't be afraid to call 911." You all have heard them, "I was afraid you are busy". when we are called we are there for them. If not us SOMEONE WILL COME. An hour seems a bit much but, I don't know the whole story. We do OUR VERY BEST. AEMT Chris Burnett
Suzanne Pellerin Suzanne Pellerin Wednesday, September 03, 2014 6:36:39 PM What did the first caller say? Were they told to hold pressure? Did they do it? perhaps it took this length of time because there were other more serious calls going on and with the information given this one was put as a lower priority. who cares if across from the governor -- has NOTHING to do with the urgency of the call. There are only so many crews available - do you vote yes for funding? If there are 10 crews and there are 13 calls?? If the local crews are out then anyone else comes from further away. So many put downs without proper info or knowledge of how it works. If you think there is a problem be part of the solution, DO something constructive or shush !!! A place to start is to get informed, get the facts
Suzanne Pellerin Suzanne Pellerin Wednesday, September 03, 2014 6:48:41 PM sad but you are probably right about what the "solution" will be
Suzanne Pellerin Suzanne Pellerin Wednesday, September 03, 2014 7:17:07 PM What did the first caller say? Were they told to hold pressure? Did they do it? perhaps it took this length of time because there were other more serious calls going on and with the information given this one was put as a lower priority. who cares if across from the governor -- has NOTHING to do with the urgency of the call. There are only so many crews available - do you vote yes for funding? If there are 10 crews and there are 13 calls?? If the local crews are out then anyone else comes from further away. So many put downs without proper info or knowledge of how it works. If you think there is a problem be part of the solution, DO something constructive or shush !!! A place to start is to get informed, get the facts
Kyle Swain Kyle Swain Thursday, September 04, 2014 6:06:57 AM It doesn't matter how much money you have, when you call for an ambulance you fall right into the cue with everyone else. Most critical to least
Thursday, September 04, 2014 4:51:28 PM Whoa! One thing I have learned as both a lawyer and a medic is that you never get all the facts from initial news reports. Until the 911 tapes are released we won't know what the call taker knew. We have no idea what the capabilities of the bystanders were, although there was a shrink present, reports say, so hopefully he had sense enough to apply pressure. Until we know the whole story it's impossible to figure out if anyone is at fault and, if so, who it is.
Glenn Causer Glenn Causer Thursday, September 04, 2014 6:58:02 PM The neighbor was a physiatrist last I checked that means he has MD after his name so he should have been able to manage bleeding and chew 911 butt and get an ambulance fast
Brendan McStay Brendan McStay Thursday, September 04, 2014 8:08:53 PM Why should an elderly woman with blood gushing from her head go by private vehicle? We've spent decades telling people not to move trauma victims. Now you want them to play ambulance?
NeNa Font NeNa Font Thursday, September 04, 2014 8:38:34 PM I bet if the call came in for the Mayor had the flu, there would have been 13 crews answering though.
Rick Hager Rick Hager Friday, September 05, 2014 7:23:22 AM Call volume for the day? If after 50 min (not an hour) patient was still awake and alive and didn't require spinal immobilization then it must have been the principal of the thing. Kind of like an NBA player falling down and then wanting the ref to make a penalty call. I wonder if when EMS finally arrived if the patient AMA'd sorry if I am ranting I am a West coast medic and we get this call all the time while we are frequently at low levels of available units.
K.k. Wilder K.k. Wilder Friday, September 05, 2014 10:27:57 AM Suzanne Pellerin knows what she's talking about with this. As she says, "...get informed, get the facts."
Suzanne Pellerin Suzanne Pellerin Saturday, September 06, 2014 8:57:22 AM NeNa Font sadly you are probably correct, those that feel entitled would probably win out -- while others would pay the price
Suzanne Pellerin Suzanne Pellerin Saturday, September 06, 2014 9:03:00 AM also bombarding 911 probably kept more serious calls from getting thru, I have had people call even when they see rescue vehicles on scene - the response from one person was " yes I see them, I just wanted to make sure you knew about the accident " my grandkids know better !!! EVERYONE should know cpr and basic first aide everyone

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