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August 3, 2015
Nearly 2-hour EMS response to sick infant sparks concern
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Rural/Metro ambulance took nearly two hours to respond to a call for an infant with a 105-degree temperature, sparking concern among city officials.
Davina Phillips said she called 911 three times for her 10-month old son on July 12.
“It took them about an hour and 45 minutes to come,” Phillips told WGRZ.com. “The dispatcher kept telling me, ‘oh, we’re really busy today.’”
The infant’s high temperature was a result of a blood infection. He was immediately treated at the hospital, and is doing okay.
Buffalo Common Councilman David Franczyk said the city has not entered into a long-term contract with Rural/Metro due to concern over long wait times.
“The industry standard is within eight minutes,” Franczyk said.
Rural/Metro did not comment on the specific incident, but provided the following statement, which lists examples of non-emergency calls that a proposed community paramedic program would address:
“Emergency medical services is used by a very diverse population that sometimes includes individuals who lack access to normal, primary health care. As a result, we are often called for minor situations because patients have no other options. In Buffalo we follow a holding policy for non-emergency calls (aka COLD calls) so that life threatening emergency calls can be met with a timely response. HIPAA Privacy Rights preclude Rural/Metro from speaking about specific call information however we can discuss some generalities about non-life threatening "COLD" calls.
These examples are items that our proposed community paramedicine program would help address.
By holding non-emergent COLD calls, as triaged by the County 9-1-1 center, we can ensure timely response to life threatening emergencies.”