Delayed Ambulance Never Reached Wounded Baby Girl


 
 

Jessica Van Sack | | Thursday, June 19, 2008


BOSTON -- An ambulance did not arrive until more than 12 minutes after Boston EMS was notified of an emergency at a Mattapan apartment where a baby was shot Monday night double the average response time which city councilors blasted as "unacceptable.''

A print-out of the electronic call log that night indicates the EMS dispatcher was still asking whether an ambulance was needed more than three minutes after the call-taker entered the words "STS DAUGHTER DYING'' into the system and after the call-taker indicated the injured child, Alianna Peguero, was six months old.

"If this is happening systematically, we may be putting people in jeopardy of losing their lives,'' said Councilor Charles C. Yancey, who represents Mattapan.

Added Councilor Stephen J. Murphy, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, "Given the amount of staffing we have and the amount of resources we commit, it's unacceptable.''

Alianna Peguero remained in critical but stable condition last night after being shot while in her father's arms, said BPD spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll.

Two cops found the baby on the living room floor after she was shot Monday night in her midsection by a bullet that passed through Alinson Peguero's hand. With no ambulance on the scene, cops drove the baby to Carney Hospital in a cruiser.

The closest ambulance, meanwhile, was driving from Carney Hospital to the shooting scene at 70 Fairlawn Ave.

It was not dispatched until several minutes after EMS was notified about an assault and battery in progress, according to a log obtained by the Herald.

Ann Scales, spokeswoman for Boston EMS, said EMTs were en route as soon as the dispatcher was told of the severity.

EMTs arrived at 8:49 p.m., more than 12 minutes after EMS was notified - and fully 14 minutes and 31 seconds after the initial 911 call.

The average Boston EMS response time for a priority 1 call is 6.1 minutes, Scales said.

"We responded appropriately, as did police,'' Scales said. "The scene was very confusing. We were trying to sift through conflicting information. When we realized it was a priority call, we immediately went to the scene.''

One veteran EMS official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the EMS dispatcher was dealing with a dizzying array of tasks: about 20 other calls and a busy radio during a thunderstorm.

He also admitted the dispatcher probably missed some of the details being provided by the call-taker. "It suggests we missed some of the supplements,'' the official said, referring to additional information entered by the call-taker.

In May, officials vowed to retrain 911 dispatchers and call-takers after a series of reports by the Boston Globe on delayed responses to emergencies.

The paper reported that a 911 operator mistakenly told a dispatcher that an April 20 robbery was not a high priority because the suspect had fled. Cops arrived 35 minutes after the 911 call and found a 76-year-old victim bleeding from his head in Hyde Park.




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