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Patient in 40 min. Collier ambulance delay speaks out

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Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Patient in 40 min. Collier ambulance delay speaks out

By Matt Grant. CREATED Feb 19, 2013

NAPLES, Fla. - A day after a former EMS worker said map and GPS problems may have led to response delays of up to 40 minutes we're hearing from another family affected by those delays.

The paramedic, Jose Martinez, was on his way to a call two miles away when he and the driver got lost. What should have taken only a few minutes ended up taking 40 and one man says that delay could have killed him.

"I could have died right here," said James Leuschner, 67. "I could have flat-lined in my bed."

Leuschner remembers the day his life was on the line.

"I turned over and when I did that I got nauseous and passed out in my bed," said Leuschner. "The doctor said I was going to flat-line so it was serious."

Doctors diagnosed him with having atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat. In August 2010 he woke up around 5 am and knew something wasn't right.

His wife called 911. With the ambulance station two miles away, Leuschner thought help was on its way.

The paramedics got lost heading to the Tall Oaks retirement community.

"They're right up the street here, they're two miles away, they should have been here," said Leuschner. "There was no reason that they shouldn't have been here."

"They just said they were lost and by today's standards with GPS," said his wife, Carol, "I cannot understand how that's even possible."

Leuschner's wife, Carol, says she beat the ambulance by five minutes.

"What the heck," she said, "I couldn't understand how this was happening...people's lives are at stake."

"They need some improvement," said Leuschner. "They really do."

That's something Charles Minard has been fighting for since his son's death in December. In that case, an ambulance crew waited 5-6 minutes before ever leaving the station because their radios either weren't working or they didn't hear the dispatch.

"Do you have faith in the ambulance system of Collier County?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Not since that episode, no," said Carol. "I have lost faith."

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com