NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It took 50 minutes for an ambulance to get to an 89-year-old woman who had fallen and was bleeding from her head in her East End Avenue building’s mail room, just across the street from Gracie Mansion on July 15.
Frustrated neighbors and staff placed numerous calls to 911, and the building super eventually ran to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s home for help, which only arrived after officers there called the fire department, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.
Dr. Richard Frances lives in the building and said he arrived on the scene about a half hour into the ordeal.
“I don’t lose my temper often but I was furious,” he told CBS 2’s Steve Langford. “It was several phone calls from me and multiple phone calls from our doorman and our building manager.”
Witnesses say firefighters arrived first, followed moments later by a 911 dispatch ambulance.
“It’s not just because it happened so close to Gracie. Any time I hear of a delay in emergency services it’s disturbing because I think of it in human terms,” de Blasio said. “For any one of us, that could be our parent, our grandparent.”
The mayor said he hasn’t received an adequate explanation and promised to get to the bottom of the delay, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“I’m looking forward to the results of the investigation. We take this very seriously,” he said.
“I think we were all in the building very disappointed about the lack of response we got from the emergency services,” one neighbor told CBS 2.
Sources tell CBS 2 the issue is likely human error rather than a technical problem.
This is not the first time questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the city’s 911 response system.
In August, an investigation was underway after a 911 dispatcher allegedly bungled an emergency call that ended with the death of an infant in the Bronx.
Julia Knight, 32, said her 5-month-old daughter, Isabella Glover, was sleeping in bed with her at the Webster Morrisania Houses public housing development in the Bronx.
“The next morning when I got up, my daughter was on her stomach in the pillow,” Knight said. “When I turned her over, she wasn’t breathing.”
Knight called 911 right away. She told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria that she was on the phone with the dispatcher for 24 minutes.
During that time, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Knight said the dispatcher kept insisting that she was giving her a bad address.
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