The lives of a 4-year-old girl and her grandmother hung in the balance while a 23-year-old Emergency Medical Services (EMS) worker denied their incoming 911 call and punched out of her computer terminal. This irresponsible and unforgivable act caused a 4-minute, 18-second delay in the response of New York City ambulances – which took an additional 3 minutes and 52 seconds to reach the victims. Errors that contributed to the death of the little girl, Ariel.
“How can it be that $2 billion has bought a 911 system that must resort to pen and paper? What happens if an extended heat wave taxes the system?” questioned City Controller John Liu.
New York City recently overhauled its 911 system but it’s obvious that there are glitches, or perhaps fundamental flaws, that can cause unnecessary death or injury to people. In the instance described above, Ariel and her grandmother needed an immediate response after an unlicensed 17-year-old driver ran them down in the crosswalk.
Ariel’s family has filed a $40 million suit against New York City and the teen driver’s parents, whose negligence all caused and contributed to the death of Ariel and the severe injuries of her grandmother. If City officials don’t fix the system soon, we can expect more heartbreaking stories like Ariel’s.
NYDailyNews.com, “Family of Ariel Russo, killed in crash, prepares $40 million suit against city over 911 delay,” John Marzulli, Juan Gonzalez , Vera Chinese and Larry McShane, June 12, 2013