FDNY Reviews Alleged Delayed EMS Response

Neighbor to Mayor de Blasio reportedly waited nearly an hour for an ambulance


 
 

SHAWN COHEN, The New York Post | | Wednesday, September 3, 2014


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.

A caretaker and horrified neighbors bombarded 911 after Sandra Boucher, 89, took a tumble in the building's mailroom on July 15, but the retired jewelry designer was left writhing in pain in one of the latest blunders involving the city's troubled Unified Call Taker system.

"To be in New York City living right across from Gracie Mansion and to have it take 50 minutes to get an ambulance to finally come to take this old woman to the hospital, the whole thing was a total disaster," fumed Richard Francis, 68, a neighbor and ex-surgeon who angrily phoned 911 himself a half- hour after the initial call.

"I felt as if she got as much care as if she lived in the Sahara Desert."

Another neighbor, Lauren Roberts, fumed, "She was just lying in the mailroom in a pool of blood by her head."

The building manager finally ran across the street to Hizzoner's official residence and told one of the mayor's guards, who flagged some firefighters just down the block.

A source involved in the 911 system said there were no EMTs available when the first call came in at about 3 p.m. Only after the calls kept pouring in did an operator raise the case's priority to life-threatening, and an ambulance pulled up shortly after 4 p.m., minutes after the fire crew had arrived.

"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.

The FDNY said it is reviewing its response to the incident.

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

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.

scohen@nypost.com

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