Christine Quinn said she is livid that 911 did not send an ambulance when a young intern fainted during her press conference Tuesday in Williamsburg.
Having waited more than 30 minutes, the City Council speaker instead called the Williamsburg Hatzolah for first aid. Two units, fasting and clad in crocs for Tishah B’Av, rushed out of reciting Kinos and were on the scene in minutes.
“From the time we got the call until we got to the scene it took less than four minutes,” Yosef Levy, the first responder, told Hamodia. “Three Hatzolah guys were mobile — we were coming back from a different call … so it was maybe three-and-a-half minutes.”
Levy said he got a “nice kabbalas panim” (reception) from the police and Quinn, who were frustrated that 911 did not respond.
The name of the patient was not released, but from Quinn’s comments it appears her first name is Yvette. She was taken to the nearby Woodhull Medical Center, where she is said to be doing fine.
“Great news!” Quinn posted shortly afterward. “The young woman who fainted this afternoon at our press conference is now home and resting. Everything looks A-OK!”
Quinn, a leading candidate for mayor in the upcoming election, was in Williamsburg Tuesday to talk about her support for the controversial East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, a trash dumping site, in the Upper East Side. She was joined by Councilwoman Diana Reyna, a Democrat who represents the area.
In middle of Quinn’s remarks, a 17-year-old Reyna intern collapsed, presumably from the 100-degree “real feel” heat. A member of Quinn’s detail who was a certified emergency medical technician administered first aid as Quinn, along with several others present, called 911.
“They’ll be here in a minute,” Quinn said she assured the girl repeatedly.
But the minutes dragged on, and when 30 minutes passed with no ambulance, Quinn finally did what only the speaker of the city council could do: she phoned Fire Department chief Sal Cassandro and, not reaching him, called Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
“Why don’t you call Hatzolah?” Kelly reportedly said.
Hatzolah was called and an ambulance arrived shortly afterward.
The girl who fainted, a college student who was working over the summer as part of the Youth Corps program, was taken to Woodhull accompanied by her boss, Councilwoman Reyna.
Meanwhile, Hatzolah was lauded by a bevy of elected officials after the incident.
“Nobody beats Hatzolah,” Reyna told Levy. “Hatzolah is always there when we need them.”
“I’d like to thank Joseph Levy and Mutty Klein, the Hatzolah volunteers who arrived with an ambulance,” Quinn said in an email to Hamodia. “The City is indebted to them for everything that they do every day to help New Yorkers in need of emergency medical attention.”
Levy, a 22-year Hatzolah veteran with the code W39, said that Quinn gave him her mobile phone number, and told him to call her whenever he needed anything.
“She knew it was Tishah B’Av and she knew we were fasting,” Levy said. “I told her good luck with her elections.”
Councilman David Greenfield, a Brooklyn Democrat and an Orthodox Jew, praised Hatzolah’s response while noting that it “is even more impressive considering that it occurred on Tishah B’Av, when its volunteers are in the middle of fasting.”
“This incident reinforced what we already knew — our community is extremely fortunate to have capable and dedicated volunteers looking out for us around the clock,” Greenfield added.
As soon as the press conference ended, Quinn and the head of the Youth Corps program visited the patient in the hospital.
Grabbing an issue which other mayoral candidates have focused on in recent days, Quinn said she is mad that it took the FDNY so long — and then they ended up not coming.
“It just took over a half an hour for an ambulance to get to a place where a young girl had fainted and was lying on the street in the sweltering heat, where there were four [media] cameras at least, the speaker of the city council, and a council member,” Quinn fumed. “It raises many questions about how long it takes an ambulance to get anywhere else.”
“It’s inexcusable; I do not know what caused this delay, I can’t explain it, and I am going to get to the bottom of it,” she said.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu, Quinn’s, rivals in the mayoral election, have both called for investigations into why the 911 system has been losing calls.
“The truth is the 911 headquarters is understaffed and the operators are overworked,” Liu said, referring to the Quinn conference incident in a press release Tuesday.
“We need to get to the bottom of these delays immediately,” de Blasio said in a letter to Rose Gill Hearn, Commissioner of the city’s Department of Investigation. “We need an independent investigation to determine what has gone wrong and whether our officials are doing enough to respond.”