Ambulance takes 30 minutes after intern collapses at Quinn event

Ambulance takes 30 minutes after intern collapses at Quinn event

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Speaker Quinn tries to help the intern who passed out. Speaker Quinn tries to help the intern who passed out.
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The FDNY is defending the response time of an ambulance after an intern collapsed at a news conference held by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Yvette Dorothy, 17, lost consciousness during the outdoor event Tuesday afternoon on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn where the temperature was in the 90s.

Quinn was addressing the media about the controversial Upper East Side garbage transfer station when the woman passed out. Quinn was there to call on opponents of the station to drop their lawsuit against construction of the site.

Quinn and others called 911 and then tried to help Dorothy. Quinn then called NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly requesting an ambulance.

A volunteer ambulance arrived in about half an hour. An FDNY ambulance arrived in about 54 minutes.

Quinn wants to know why it took so long for an ambulance to arrive. She called the delay inexcusable and says she plans to get to the bottom of it.

But in a statement the FDNY said that Quinn's own police security detail was on the scene and that a cop who is also a trained emergency medical technician immediately began treating Dorothy, who was alert and communicating.

"Every call for medical assistance is important and ambulance dispatching is prioritized so life threatening calls--for a choking child, cardiac arrest or chest pains--take precedence over non-life threatening injuries--where the patient is breathing, alert and communicating," the FDNY said in a statement. "The call was appropriately tagged as not being a high-priority, life-threatening call."

Medics arrived and took Dorothy to Woodhull Hospital in stable condition.

"With a high volume of calls during extreme heat, a call for a non-life threatening injury with an alert patient being treated by a trained EMT is appropriately not deemed a high priority, which in some cases like this one, means that it takes longer for an ambulance to get to the scene," the FDNY said. "But it is critical that life-saving resources be prioritized and used for high-priority, life threatening incidents."

Recent delays in emergency response times have led to an investigation by officials of the city's 911 system.

A 4-year-old girl was struck and killed by a car driven by teenager fleeing police on June 4 in Manhattan.

Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano said shortly after the crash that there had been a delay, but he believed it was human error.

Emergency dispatch and other union officials say it was a system problem, coming on the heels of several other glitches that lasted up to an hour at a time.

That a faster response would have saved the girl's life is not clear.

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