Thursday, April 21, 2016


The ambulance delay that caused an 8-year-old boy suffering a seizure last month to wait 16 minutes for an ambulance was caused by a dispatcher mistakenly calling the South Orange Rescue Squad for back-up when Maplewood emergency crews were unavailable, according to Mayor Vic Deluca.

"We did see that there may have been a bit of a glitch in the process," Deluca said at Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting, where he offered an update. 

A copy of the police report from the March 23 incident at Ridgewood Road and Ridgewood Terrace indicated that the call first came into 911 operators at 3:32 p.m., but an ambulance did not arrive until 3:48 p.m.

The boy, a Marshall School student, had just gotten off the school bus.

The report indicates the Regional Emergency Medical Communications System or REMCS, received the first call at 3:32 p.m. and a unit was dispatched from Orange due to Maplewood being unavailable. 

But at 3:46 p.m., that unit was diverted and a new ambulance was dispatched through MONOC, the Monmouth Ocean Hospital Service Corporation, which provides ambulance service to many counties in the state, including Essex County.

Deluca said part of the delay was due to the fact that the 911 dispatcher reached out to the South Orange Rescue Squad as a secondary unit, but they are not on for mutual aid until 6 p.m. 

From now on, he said, the secondary ambulance between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. will be from MONOC.

"We will continue to work with South Orange Rescue Squad as our back-up," Deluca said. "But during the day, we have made clear to our dispatchers that MONOC is the back-up."

The mayor also said more reviews and improvements will be done and revealed that he had received calls from two other people in town saying they had suffered response delays one two other occasions, but offered no details.

"The first 911 call, the caller hung up after reporting the incident," the mayor said about the seizure case. "We will do an education program to urge people that when they do a 911 call, they stay on the line."

He said that helps the dispatcher receive more details and information about the situation.

No comments: