Lawmaker seeks change after ambulance breaks down on way to patient

Hawaii Rep. John Mizuno is pushing for bills that would increase EMS funding to replace aging ambulances and avoid any more breakdowns

By EMS1 Staff

HONOLULU — A lawmaker is seeking change after an ambulance broke down on the way to a patient, who later died.

KHON2 reported that an EMS crew was on the way to a call for a patient who was having trouble breathing when the ambulance experienced mechanical issues.

The crew made it to the scene 17 minutes after receiving the call, but the fire department arrived first and began treating the patient before the EMS crew arrived to perform ALS measures. After treatment, the patient died on the scene.

The incident highlighted the state of EMS vehicles. Out of the 53 ambulances on Oahu, 23 of them have over 200,000 miles. EMS officials said they do not have a designated repair crew like the fire and police departments do.

"Shocking, I anticipate that anyone watching this report would indicate that there's probably going to be a lawsuit, a personal injury lawsuit to follow," Rep. John Mizuno said.

Mizuno is pushing for bills that would increase EMS funding so that further ambulance breakdowns can be avoided.

EMS officials said the state health department currently gives them $1.2 million a year for new vehicles, and it costs $220,000 to purchase a new ambulance.

"Unfortunately, over the years, we've gotten more reactive and placing a Band Aid approach to EMS and ambulances compared to putting in a strong foundation and truly having a better healthcare safety system out there," Mizuno said.


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