Ambulance mystery during big Cleveland weekend under investigation


CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team uncovered an internal investigation into what happened when a Cleveland ambulance crew was listed on one call for four hours.

It happened last month during the big NFL Draft weekend and on a day when the City was short on ambulances to answer your calls. We’ve learned the investigation is looking into whether an EMS crew was forgotten or did dispatch somehow lose track of that unit?

A dispatch record shows on May 1, an EMS unit sent to West 81st Street for a medical emergency.

The crew was sent at 2:03 p.m. But the call was not closed or marked as completed until 6:21 p.m. The record also shows the patient refused to go to the hospital.

So, how is an ambulance crew lost in the system for hours?

A statement from Cleveland City Hall said, in part, “This incident is being investigated by the Office of Integrity Control, Compliance, and Employee Accountability.”

We found Cleveland City Hall is not answering follow-up questions since there’s an internal investigation. The EMS union also told us it is not answering questions for the same reason. However, the union president did point out that the crew members said they followed proper procedure.

The I-Team has repeatedly investigated delays and short-staffing with Cleveland EMS exposing a chronic problem.

Councilman Michael Polensek has been watching issues with your ambulance service closely, so we told him about the internal investigation.

“I would tell you, that’s unacceptable,” Polensek said. “Also, there are supervisors allegedly out in the field. So, again, for a unit to be out of service for four hours at a location they responded to would have raised questions with me. Was the crew alright?”

We also went to the address of that call on West 81st Street and we also didn’t get any answers there.

As for staffing on that day, records show the city was short six ambulances that afternoon, meaning EMS operated at about a quarter below its normal staffing.

We’ll update this story after the internal investigation is finished.

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