I-Team: 34-minute wait for ambulance in medical emergency

CLEVELAND -  The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating why it took 34 minutes to get a Cleveland ambulance to a woman found by police unconscious in her home. In fact, this comes at a time when city hall is promising to cut response times and get help to you more quickly.

Last week, police went to a home on West 116th to check on a woman who hadn’t been seen. Officers found her unresponsive in her home, and they called an ambulance.

Police radio tapes show police repeatedly asking when the ambulance will get there. At one point, a dispatcher can be heard saying, "it looks like your Medic went to the wrong assignment. They went to Adam 25's assignment the next street over." Even then, officers waited several more minutes before they saw an ambulance at their call.

Assistant Safety Director Ed Eckart tells the I-Team the city is now doing a thorough review. He said, "We are in the process of reviewing all the audio tapes, the AVL (automatic vehicle locater) which shows the routes the units took, as well as comparing incident reports." Eckart added, the internal investigation will also include interviewing the paramedics.

The mayor has said repeatedly, the city is working to reduce response times. Cleveland has steadily added more ambulances and paramedics. And within weeks, even more EMS units will be rolling day and night. Meantime, the city is recruiting for more training classes for paramedics to keep up with the increased staffing.

But what went wrong in this case?

Officers give credit to a surgeon familiar to the family for going to the scene and helping to check out the woman before EMS arrived. She regained consciousness shortly after police arrived. On the dispatch tapes, an officer can be heard calling what happened a “possible stroke”.

When the internal review is finished, we’ll report the findings.