Friday, December 19, 2014

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Concerns Over City's New 911 System Arise After Ambulance Delayed In Reaching Injured Child

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After it took more than 40 minutes for help to reach an injured child on Friday, marking another delay amid concerns over the city's new 911 system, the fire department says the technology worked fine and that ambulances just had trouble finding the Brooklyn playground. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

At 12:07 p.m. on Friday, an assistant principal at the Brooklyn New School called 911.

A 10-year-old boy had fallen off playground equipment and hit the concrete head first.

He was conscious, but out of it. There was a lot of blood.

Six more phone calls, three ambulances and 41 minutes later, emergency workers reached the child.

"I could have taken a subway or a taxi from midtown Manhattan, picked up my child and rushed him to the emergency room," said Stephanie Abrahams, the injured child's mother.

The boy was taken to Lutheran Hospital and then transferred to NYU Langone, where he stayed overnight, vomiting with a concussion.

He has no memory of the incident.

"My kid was bleeding on a sidewalk. Everyone from the school was watching and waiting and nobody came until 40 minutes later, after many, many calls from the school. I want to understand why this happened," Abrahams said.

It seems a few things happened, starting with the way the location was relayed through the system.

The assistant principal reported being on Rapelye Street between Henry and Hicks Streets, but the fire department says the operator confirmed, then passed on, just Rapelye and Hicks Streets.

Like many in the area, this intersection is a problem, because it can be found on both sides of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

The fire department says the ambulance arrived within three minutes, but to the wrong side.

Ten minutes later, emergency services tried to call the assistant principal back, but she didn't hear her phone.

At some point, the fire department says that the ambulance gave up.

Meanwhile, school officials continued calling, giving the address of the school, the name of the playground, the names of the four streets surrounding the block and the address of a home facing the playground gate.

Finally, two ambulances arrived.

"We have a great city, we have technology, this doesn't seem right," Abrahams said.

The playground and school are both clearly visible on maps, and clearly east of the highway.

The fire department says it will make a note of the school's location to avoid confusion in the future, but that confirming addresses on a map in general is not part of the city's 911 protocol. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP