Inspector general: Chicago mayor must intervene in ambulance shortage

The city’s inspector general said Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs to help fix the problem of slow response times

By EMS1 Staff

CHICAGO — Chicago’s inspector general is calling on the mayor to intervene on the city’s ambulance shortage and slow response times.

In a CBS Chicago investigation, Chicago city inspector general Joseph Ferguson said Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs to step in and help fix the slow response times, which have included a 16-minute response for a woman hit by a truck and 33-minute response for a senior with chest pains.

“It should be concerning to the public,” Ferguson said. “It should make one person absolutely apoplectic, and that person is the one person who can do something about this, and that’s the mayor, who can tell his fire commissioner to get into the game.”

Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said three years ago that the department needed five more ambulances, but they have not been added.

“Sometimes a good boot up the backside is what’s needed,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson added that the department has not adjusted resources since fire-related calls decreased and medical calls went up in the last three years.

“When lives are at stake, if the leadership of the fire department won’t respond, then we all have to look to the mayor to step in.”

“Providing the highest quality emergency medical services and rapid ambulance response times is a priority of the Emanuel Administration,” a spokesperson from the Mayor’s office said. “The city will diligently work to determine the appropriate locations for any additional ambulances.”

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