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Ambulance dispatched Staten Island to Manhattan


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Richard, Asys...got any insight?

How does this occur? Are the crews not allowed to ask or question their dispatch? Just curious...

FDNY probes why SI ambulance dispatched to midtown Manhattan

The Fire Department of New York is investigating why an ambulance on Staten Island was dispatched to assist an 88-year-old woman who had collapsed on a midtown Manhattan street.

Fire officials say it took nearly an hour for the ambulance to arrive. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital and is expected to recover. Her name was not released.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum says the city failed to help the woman in a timely manner.

FDNY spokesman Tony Sciafani says the delay was unacceptable. He says the department carefully coordinates its resources.

The woman collapsed last Thursday as she tried to cross at East 55th Street and Lexington Avenue. She injured her head and back.

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I don't know to much about what the rules of dispatching are, but coming from the other end... I'll take a stab at it.

The computer recommends units based on distance, priority, and availability. At times all units within a region, even a entire borough can be "busy." Manhattan is split between, South, Central, and North. Bronx units get sent to Manhattan North, Queens to Central, and Brooklyn to South all the time b/c of the high call volume in Manhattan.

Now Staten Island would generally be closest to the South. If all Manhattan units were busy at the time; all units bordering Manhattan in their respective boroughs were ALSO busy, than there would be a possibility of a ridiculously long response time.

Now here lies the problem. If a closer unit becomes available seconds after the job has been given out, I've noticed that the dispatcher does not always catch it. He/she may choose NOT to reassign the job, instead giving the available unit yet another job.

Seeing that the recent weeks have been extremely busy, this may have been the case.

Last Thursday I happened to be doing some BLS overtime in Midtown Manhattan. If I remember right, I heard the SI crew go over the air several times stating their location, the fact that they were in bumper to bumper traffic in SI. The unit tried to refuse the job, stating that there was no way they could make it to midtown in a sufficient time. They had been refusing to press their "63 enroute" button. A few moments later, I heard a LT or CPT go on the air and basically say that if the unit refuses, put them out admin and send them back to their station. The crew ended up responding to the call since I didn't hear anything from the dispatcher.

That same week I was in downtown Manhattan around 16th street on the east side. I was dispatched to 98th street on the west side for the Cardiac Arrest. Dispatch was notified of my location and it was documented, but we continued in. The BLS, ended up transporting the pt on their own b/c of our asinine distance at the time. Yet there were several ALS units that became available as I fought my way uptown.

Can we question dispatch? Not really.

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One problem would be that maybe they were relying on the computer too much. You can't remove the human element. I had a buddy that lived in Brooklyn and the Bronx and he told me how much longer they would have to wait for EMS or Fire in the Bronx compared to Brooklyn for some reason. I have no idea how the dispatch works in NY. But IMHO they need a shot of good ole common sense.

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think the system needs a serious revision, someone needs to be held accountable for that nonsense, but wont due to it being new york. holy hannah has it gotten that bad over the years that seems like people are burned out that much, or is it just the way things are done is that far gone?????

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the obvious question is why did the guy/gal at 'the big desk at the back ' (i.e. the control room duty officer /manager not reassign when a closer unit came available - the dispatcher on the sector may be 3 or 4 deep in calls ., if his / her screen is full of clock ticking e calls , he stuff with resources running is the least of his worries ...

no doubt the dispatcher also told the crew " it' says noo yawk on the side of the 'bus and the calls in noo yawk "

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P3, you're killing me, lol.

The short answer is I have no real clue. Mind you, this woman wasn't at the South Ferry terminal and geographically close to Staten Island, she was at 55th street, about a third of the way up Manhattan. Units from Queens or Brooklyn should have come up first recommended.

I don't think we'll ever know if this was really a "glitch" in the system, such as a flaw in the GPS software, or if really the system is just plain breaking down. In some ways I hope it was a glitch, because otherwise, it would have meant that every single BLS unit in Harlem, Midtown, Downtown, Queens West, and Brooklyn were on an assignment at that given moment in the day.

At every single juncture I have voiced my concerns about our dispatch system. I have always stated that over triaging calls and simply sending an ambulance anytime someone needs their prescription filled might fill the city's coffers with Medicare and Medicaid money, but not only is it wrong it is also doomed to fail, and several people, including our union president Pat Bahnken, thinks the system is now approaching or at critical mass.

But the real problem is that you can't tell the FDNY anything. Its like a bad Monty Python sketch sometimes, the FDNY assuring that they carefully coordinate its resources, as ALS units go flying to the stuffy nose and 88 year old women are allowed to sizzle on the sidewalk at 55th street. If what 1aCe3 is saying is correct, then it simply lays bare how bad the system really is. I can see the lieutenant or captain on the air threatening to put them off service. Did the Lt. or Captain talk to the unit? Did they say "Okay, we know you're extended, but you're the only ones, do your best"? Or did they offer solutions? No. They sat in their command car handing down threats over the radio when the system was clearly screwed up. I've had a captain threaten to put me off service if I didn't go back available when a police officer was directing me to a person under a train. I thought the captain was on scene, and at a different location with the patient, but it turns out he was three miles away with no clue what was going on. Unfortunately, the FDNY promotes asshole butt kissers into its ranks as management, so its like trying to do your job while middle school hall monitors look over your shoulder.

Anyway, the system is plain and simple BROKEN at many levels and its not going to get better anytime soon. I only hope and pray that the EMT's and Paramedics of the FDNY EMS system do their best and try desperately to get to the patients and the hospital despite the FDNY's continued multiple levels off gross incompetence.

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At every single juncture I have voiced my concerns about our dispatch system. I have always stated that over triaging calls and simply sending an ambulance anytime someone needs their prescription filled might fill the city's coffers with Medicare and Medicaid money, but not only is it wrong it is also doomed to fail, and several people, including our union president Pat Bahnken, thinks the system is now approaching or at critical mass.

But the real problem is that you can't tell the FDNY anything. Its like a bad Monty Python sketch sometimes, the FDNY assuring that they carefully coordinate its resources, as ALS units go flying to the stuffy nose and 88 year old women are allowed to sizzle on the sidewalk at 55th street.

Sounds like our problem across the river too. All management cares about is response times, and that any ambulance gets there, not the proper resources.

It's not even like you can blame the crew for giving the wrong atom, since everything is based on Automatic Vehicle Locators now, right?

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