At the Risk of Repeating Myself


I’ll say it once again.

All that 90% of the public cares about when they call for an ambulance (or fire truck, or police car) is response time. The EMS crew could come and do absolutely nothing for the patient as long as they come fast and transport.

Case in point,

Ambulance takes an hour to answer call near Gracie Mansion

 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.

Factual reporting with a dash or ten of drama and hyperbole added. If someone had blood gushing from their head for an hour, they’d be dead at the end of said hour.  Apparently, the city is supposed to have extra ambulances that just sit and wait in the area where the Mayor and other high ranking officials live. The rest of you Gotham City peons will just have to wait.

“Jesus Christ almighty, an 89-year-old lady lying on the floor bleeding after banging her head. To make it a non-life-threatening incident at first, it’s off-the-charts dumb,” griped Martin Steadman, spokesman for the Unified Fire Officers Association.

Another EMS expert chimes in. I think that opening phrase might be considered blasphemy. If I was Steadman’s friend, I’d take a few steps back, just in case.

Usually, this would be followed by an anguished “If only they’d sent a fire truck, we might have been able to save her.” Only in this case, she didn’t need saving AND FDNY suppression guys aren’t all that hot with EMS first response thing like in most other cities.

Fire-union leaders cite thousands of similarly bungled responses. They blame the Unified Call Taker system, implemented in 2009 to increase response times.

I think it was actually implemented to decrease response times, because they probably wouldn’t want to increase them more. Of course the city could also add more ambulances and pay their EMS staff more, but I’m being silly, aren’t I?

City Hall has said that the unions just want to protect members’ jobs and that there were plenty of errors before the new system was established.

No surprise here. Actually, I’m not sure what the error was other than not getting to one of the Mayor’s neighbors really fast.

As I said, it’s all about response times.


  1. The best part about all those fire folk chiming in is that a hospital based voluntary ambulance eventually responded, and not a FDNY ambulance.


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