Ambulance delayed 31 minutes after woman stabbed

Wis. medics waited within sight of victim because police officer took another call without telling dispatch


MILWAUKEE, Wis. — An ambulance responded for a woman that had been stabbed, but waited 31 minutes for police to arrive. Fire department policy requires medics to wait away from the crime scene until police declare it is safe.

The victim's boyfriend had broken into her home, found her sleeping with her sons and slit her throat and stabbed her, reported WISN 12 News

“I just knew I was getting ready to die,” Jasmyne Houston-Carter told WISN 12 News.

A Milwaukee Police Department investigation of the Nov. 2014 incident revealed the delay occurred after the responding police officer went to a different call without telling the dispatcher. Meanwhile, a Milwaukee Fire Department ambulance and rescue crew waited outside, within view of the house.

“We could see them sitting on the corner,” a neighbor said to WISN 12 News.

Assistant Fire Chief Dan Lipski said firefighters are trained to wait nearby until police declare a crime scene safe.

“We are not trained to diffuse a violent situation. We are not protected, nor do we have the training on how to protect ourselves should we become part of an assault or something of that nature,” Lipski said.

In this incident, the fire department was repeatedly told the suspect was gone from the scene, but Lipski said information is often unreliable, so the medics wait.

“It's against our nature. It's against our moral fiber, but at the end of the day, that incident commander has to be responsible for their members as well,” Lipski said.

The Milwaukee Police Department disciplined three officers who caused the delay.

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