The city claims that it prioritizes 911 calls based on the severity of the issue at hand—so how does it explain taking 40 minutes to attend to a child bleeding from his head?
The incident happened Friday afternoon at the Brooklyn New School, when a 10-year-old boy tumbled off some playground equipment and hit his head on the concrete, NY1 reports. He was alert, but bleeding. School administrators placed six phone calls to 911, but an ambulance failed to arrive for 41 minutes.
"I could have taken a subway or a taxi from midtown Manhattan, picked up my child and rushed him to the emergency room," Stephanie Abrahams, the boy's mother, told the station.
Evidently, there was confusion about the precise location of the Carroll Gardens playground, which school staff reported being on Rapelye Street between Henry and Hicks streets. But the operator forwarded only Rapeyle and Hicks streets to the dispatcher, ultimately sending the ambulance to the wrong side of the BQE.
"My kid was bleeding on a sidewalk, Abrahams said. "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."
An FDNY spokesperson confirmed that emergency workers were confused about the location of the playground. She could not comment on whether ambulances are equipped with GPS devices.
"The long and the short of it is that we dispatched one ambulance, the first ambulance looked for awhile, more calls came in and we dispatched second and third ambulance," said spokesperson Elisheva Zakheim, adding that the delay was not attributed to the city's state-of-the-art but somewhat beleaguered 911 dispatch system.
"We searched based on the address that we were given initially, and as more info came in, we refined it," she said.
The child was eventually transported to Lutheran Hospital, and later transferred to NYU Langone, where he was treated for a concussion.