CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained exclusive Cleveland police video helping to tell the story behind a 34-minute wait for an ambulance after a woman had been found unconscious in her home.
An internal investigation has just been finished. Two paramedics have received minor punishment for their roles in the delay.
The call came in on West 116 last month. The video shows police, neighbors, and even a doctor at the house all wondering what was taking so long for an ambulance to get there. Meantime, the doctor can be heard talking to the woman after she regained consciousness. At one point, an officer said to a dispatcher, "This has been over 30 minutes, and the doctor that's working with her in the bathroom says she probably just had a stroke."
An internal review found the first ambulance crew sent to the call actually stopped a block away. Those paramedics had been flagged down by people involved in a domestic violence matter. The paramedics, records show, didn’t immediately call in to tell dispatch they had stopped. And, they didn’t realize that was not the call they’d been sent to check out.
That led, in part, to the delay, and two paramedics have received written warnings because they failed to call in where they had stopped.
As for actually stopping for someone flagging down the ambulance, Cleveland EMS policy says crews have to stop and ask questions. In fact, city hall says paramedics could be hit with a criminal charge of abandonment if they just keep going.
Since this happened, a close friend of the victim says she has spent time in the hospital and at a rehab center. City safety officials spent a lot of time getting to the bottom of what went wrong.