4-month-old Dies in West Side Detroit Church Waiting for Ambulan - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

4-month-old Dies in West Side Detroit Church Waiting for Ambulance


We're visited the west side to cover the latest ambulance outrage of the week. A four-month old died in church waiting for the ambulance.

"The police department arrived within ten minutes of the call. EMS still had not arrived," said Bishop James A. Williams, Junior with the Spirit and Truth Christian Church.

There were two ambulances closer, but the dispatcher was unaware. Why? Maybe it's because the software that keeps track of the ambulances whereabouts doesn't work because the city hasn't paid the bill.

"It's not acceptable. We have to do a better job. We're losing people simply because we're not providing a level of service that is acceptable," Williams, Junior said.

Maybe the bishop didn't hear Mayor Dave Bing's State of the City speech last week where everything's getting better.

"We instituted a new tired response system to ensure that life threatening emergencies receive the top priority and the fastest possible response," Bing said.

What is a two tier system? It's simply two types of ambulances. The first is an advanced unit for serious emergencies such as heart attacks. The second is a basic unit for booboos.

Is it really working? Just listen to the tape this week. An old woman with chest pains was sent the booboo wagon.

"80-year-old female having chest pains, trouble breathing, and she has a high blood pressure. 200 over 120," a dispatcher can be heard saying on the recording.

It's unclear who wrote the mayor's line, but according to internal city hall documents obtained by FOX 2, the mayor's words are wooden.

According to those reports, the city simply doesn't have enough ambulances to improve those response times, which are already the worst in the country. What's more, Detroit spends less on EMS than any other big city in America and because of that software snafu, it can't prioritize heart attacks from a heart burn.

"I just had the opportunity to look at that paperwork today, and it's not getting better," said Wisam Zeineh with the Detroit Emergency Medical Services Association.  "The resources aren't allocated appropriately. Units are crossing town, twelve and 15 mile responses."

Bing's office told a local newspaper that they replaced eight rundown, advanced ambulances with eight new basics ones this January, but what they really did was take equipment out those eight advanced ambulances and reclassify them as basic ones.

So, the man in charge of keeping those ambulances fixed is Interim Commissioner Fred Wheeler.

We went to fire headquarters to talk to the man, but the commissioner wouldn't come out of his office. Instead he sent out an underling.

"We've got babies dying in churches waiting for ambulances. We've got old men dying on the sidewalks," I told him.

"I'm not the one to talk to, sir," he responded.

You want it fixed, I want it fixed and nothing happens. Maybe we ought to just drop the whole thing.

"You're doing the right thing. Stay on them," said Detroit resident Henry Tapan.

Okay Henry, I will.

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