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Are sick inmates at the Cuyahoga County Jail delaying ambulances getting to you?

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CLEVELAND-- Next time you call 911 and you wonder where the ambulance is consider what the FOX 8 I-Team just uncovered.

We found an astonishing number of calls for sick or hurt inmates. What happens when paramedics get there can also affect response time to calls on your block.

On Monday morning, another ambulance rushed to the Cuyahoga County Jail.

The I-Team found Cleveland EMS gets so many calls for prisoners so often and it can tie up paramedics for so long, it puts a strain on an ambulance system already struggling with plenty of delays getting to calls from you.

The I-Team obtained hundreds of pages of emails between Cleveland City Hall and Cuyahoga County officials. The emails put a spotlight on a number of problems at the county jail affecting you in ways you may not realize. The emails show the jail calling for an ambulance as much as nine to 12 times a day.

Plus, some paramedics have been delayed 30 to 50 minutes before going to the hospital while waiting for a deputy to escort them. The emails show jail medical issues have also caused Cleveland police cars, “to spend hours at the hospital instead of being on the road.”

Cleveland’s EMS Commissioner also told us ambulances even have been delayed waiting for guards to take them up into the jail.

Those emails indicate city officials have demanded meetings with county officials, and a Cuyahoga County spokesperson said both agencies are having “active conversations” working on it.

“Causing delays obviously backs up our call volume. We have worked through those issues on a daily and monthly basis," EMS Commissioner Nicole Carlton said.

A county spokesperson said the jail has a new contract with MetroHealth Medical Center and the county is hoping that will help eliminate some of the problems surrounding medical issues.

The emails also show snags in jail operations leading a lot of inmates to sit locked up when they should get out. As of June, 90 inmates had been held too long for a total of 259 days.

We found Cameron Davis had been held a couple of extra days after bond had been posted for him.

“They came and put this GPS bracelet on me and never came back to get me," Davis said. “It’s horrible. It’s horrible.”

The emails go back months. It took government lawyers a long time to release them to the I-Team. But they show, as we’ve never seen before, what happens behind bars has an impact on you.

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