Human Error Blamed in Fatal NYC EMS Delay

Brooklyn dispatcher failed to notice the accident report


 
 

ANDY SOLTIS and AMBER SUTHERLAND, The New York Post | | Monday, December 23, 2013


Human error - not a computer glitch - was to blame for a four-minute delay in an ambulance reaching 4-year-old Ariel Russo, who was fatally struck by a speeding SUV on the Upper West Side, the Department of Investigation reported Thursday.

A 911 dispatcher at the city's Emergency Medical Dispatch Center in Brooklyn failed to notice an incoming report of the accident, investigators said.

An EMS lieutenant, her supervisor, also failed to notice the incoming call even though it "was visible on the screen for approximately four minutes," the DOI report said.

Ariel's mother, Sophia, in tears, called on the Manhattan district attorney to determine whether the dispatcher "should be tried criminally."

"It breaks my heart to know that the advanced life support that she needed for her passageways to breathe in that moment was delayed four and a half minutes because someone didn't do their job," she told reporters.

"My daughter was depending on you," she said of the dispatcher, identified as Edna Pringle. "Where were you? Why didn't you see it? Why didn't you pick it up?"

The tragedy unfolded June 4 when an unlicensed teen driver, fleeing police, mowed the little girl down and seriously injured her grandmother at 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

It took four minutes for an ambulance to be dispatched and nearly four additional minutes for it to reach the stricken girl, who died shortly after being taken to St. Luke's Hospital.

The DOI said Pringle denied to investigators that the accident report came into the Brooklyn center shortly after Ariel was struck. But investigators said she just missed it, went on a break and logged off the system.

EMS Lt. Stephen Valladares, who was on duty and seated next to Pringle's desk, told investigators he was unaware of any problems with the Russo call until the next day. He said he was busy with paperwork when the call came in.

A relief EMT, Vadim Lopatine, took over for Pringle and dispatched an ambulance.

Investigators said Pringle had used her cellphone at least five times before the Ariel call, in violation of the rules. She denied using the phone, but subpoenaed phone records showed this was not true, investigators said.

Pringle was slapped with an undisclosed disciplinary measure a day after the incident.

Ariel's parents said after the tragedy that they would sue the city for $40 million.

Ariel's death came amid a flurry of reports of delays in the city's emergency-response system. But the DOI report said there were no technical "outages" or other problems with the 911 system at the time of the accident.

Mobile Category: 
News


Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, new york city, emergency medical dispatcher, dispatcher, delayed response

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Drone Delays Landing of Ohio Medical Helicopter

Miami Valley Hospital incident raises questions over legalities of drones.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Killed in New Mexico Medical Plane Crash

Crash near fairgrounds claims patient and crew of three.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Involved in Crash

Odessa ambulance and car collide during response.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Las Vegas Fire, AMR Reach New Deal

Tentative agreement reached over ambulance calls.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

NTSB investigates crash that killed four.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Over 100 Injured in California Earthquake

172 patients treated at Napa hospital after 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >