Collier ambulance delayed an hour in past 6 months
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES, Fla. - At least one patient had to wait an hour for an ambulance to arrive in the past six months, a Fox 4 investigation discovered.
On Thursday, we told you how a supervisor and an EMT were suspended and a driver was fired in 2010 after an internal investigation discovered it took an ambulance 40 minutes to get to a house five minutes away.
But a Fox 4 investigation discovered that response time wasn't an isolated case.
"We attempt to get on the door of the patient in eight minutes or less," said Collier County EMS Chief Walter Kopka last month.
Fox 4 requested and received the last six months of ambulance response times in Collier County. With the help of staff members and our news director we began sifting through logs of more than 14,000 response calls dating back to last August.
Our investigation found more than 1000 cases where EMT's took 10 minutes or longer to arrive and nearly two dozen examples where it took more than a half an hour.
Because of privacy reasons, the county would not give us the location of the calls so we don't know how long the EMT's had to travel or how serious the calls were.
But we did find more than a half dozen cases in the past six months where it took EMT's more than 40 minutes to arrive - including one call that took 54 minutes and another back in October that an ambulance took a full hour to arrive.
"In these life or death situations," said Dr. Amy Wecker with Internal Medicine Associates, "those extra minutes are really important."
We spoke with Dr. Wecker last month. At the time, Wecker told us even a four minute delay could be critical if a patient is without oxygen.
"A four minute delay could be a really big deal," she said. "It could mean the difference between life and death depending on the situation."
Fox 4 will meet with Collier County Manager Le Ochs on Tuesday. We plan to ask him if these response times are acceptable.