So, we investigated what might change to get help to you more quickly.
We checked once more on how often people are waiting for an ambulance in Cleveland for well over 20 minutes. We found it happening even in the most critical emergencies.
We first exposed the problem months ago.
A new records request revealed 911 callers waiting for help more than 20 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour, even more than 90 minutes.
In fact, in July, the records showed 285 calls for an ambulance held in dispatch at least 20 minutes. That is, no EMS units available to send for at least 20 minutes after someone had called 911.
We took a closer look at some of the latest calls with extreme ambulance delays.
A patient with chest pain and a history of heart attack waited more than an hour and a half. Another person with breathing problem and difficulty speaking waited more than 38 minutes.
We also noticed no EMS response to a bad car crash for more than 20 minutes.
“That’s not acceptable to us,” Cleveland City Council Public Safety Chairman Michael Polensek said.
The councilman watches this closely.
Cleveland EMS just had some new medics graduate, and seven more new paramedics are now beginning to go through two months of training. Yet, after that, EMS tells us, it still has 17 openings for medics and dispatchers.
“I think, finally, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as it pertains to EMS. We’ve got to make sure all those open paramedic positions are filled,” Councilman Polensek said.
Until then, the I-Team will keep watching for extreme delays when there’s no time to wait.
Meanwhile, city leaders also worry about a vote on Election Day on a plan to give residents some power over tax money. The concern is, if it passes, what will be the impact? Some council members have predicted it could lead to cuts in services such as EMS.