Editorial: Christine Quinn went too far for EMS help
Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker and mayoral candidate, seems to think she was acting on behalf of all New Yorkers this week when she kicked posteriors and wrote down names after an EMS crew took more than 30 minutes to respond to the plight of a teenage intern who collapsed in scorching noontime heat at a news conference.
We beg to differ.
EMS first got the call as a Level 5 priority, say published reports -- a non-life-threatening situation. But with temperatures in the 90s, the Greenpoint sector of Brooklyn where Quinn was holding the news conference already had a 15-call backup. The call load in general was 20 percent above normal at the time.
Levels 4 through 8 get secondary priority. Levels 1 through 3 are for urgent, life-threatening situations like heart attacks and gunshot wounds. They get top priority.
Except this past Tuesday in Greenpoint.
When an EMS ambulance failed to arrive fast enough for Quinn, she called the mayor's office, then the fire commissioner who runs EMS, then the police commissioner.
Presto. The Level 5 non-life-threatening job was bumped up to a life-threatening Level 2, requiring a highly trained crew and equipment held in reserve for the most urgent cases. But before EMS could arrive, a private volunteer Hatzolah ambulance rolled up and took the intern to Woodhull Hospital. Meanwhile, two NYPD cops arrived on foot, an FDNY fire truck roared up, and finally, the EMS rig, known as an advanced life support unit.
It was there for one reason only -- because someone fainted on a very hot day at a Brooklyn presser involving Quinn. Suddenly it was D-Day.
Brooklyn's average EMS response was 12 minutes on Tuesday, says the FDNY. And while better interfaces for calls to the NYPD's 911 system and handoffs to the FDNY and EMS are being developed, that had nothing to do with Tuesday's drama. We're glad the intern -- who's in no way at fault -- was released from Woodhull several hours after her arrival. But Quinn should be ashamed of herself.