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After fall, elderly woman waits an hour for EMS

July 23, 2013 3:17:37 PM PDT
There are new questions about those ongoing delays in New York City's emergency 911 system.

The latest incident happened after an elderly woman fell on the floor of her apartment in Queens.

Relatives say they called 911, but it took more than an hour for an ambulance to arrive.

"She was by the bed," said Butler Jones, a senior citizen.

Butler Jones says he went into action when he saw his friend, 96-year-old Irene Boylan, collapsed on the floor of her apartment. They both live at the Calvary Baptist Church Senior Houses in Jamaica.

"They told me the system was down. The system was down," Jones said.

Over several hours Monday, the FDNYs dispatch system crashed and operators had to resort back to pen and paper. Whether that made a difference in Mrs. Boylan's case isn't clear, there was a massive delay in getting an ambulance to her.

"I called ambulance at 1:18 and it arrived at 2:27," said Fernando Sealey, a security guard.

It took an hour and 10 minutes for help to arrive.

The officer manager tried to step in too.

"I am panicked, it doesn't make sense," said Nashee Bishop, the office manager.

The fire department says there was a high volume of calls Monday, and that Mrs. Boylan's call was a low priority because the patient was breathing, conscious and not bleeding, and that age is not a factor in determining priority.

The initial ambulance was also diverted to a pedestrian struck. But to those trying to help Irene Boylan, there is just no excuse.

"How outrageous, it has to stop," Bishop said.

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