Bureau of Emergency Communications data shows that between January 17 and June 8, more than 6,300 calls for medical assistance were not immediately responded to because there were not enough ambulances in Multnomah County. The number of “level zero” situations where no ambulances can respond to 911 calls has increased.
This new information further clarifies an ongoing issue with ambulance service in Multnomah County. American Medical Response, the company contracted by the county to provide ambulance services, has been sending crews to emergencies later and later, consistently falling short of county standards.
A guy in a wheelchair was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle in May, and he died while waiting 32 minutes for an ambulance.
“In May, a man in a wheelchair who’d been struck by a hit-and-run driver died in the street while waiting 32 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.” That’s awful ! What is wrong here ? https://t.co/1vTSdiR0rD
— Kitten (@kit3588) June 14, 2023
To meet the county standard, an ambulance in Multnomah County must arrive within 8 minutes, on average, claims that the county’s insistence on a two-paramedic arrangement is to blame for the paramedic shortage. In particular, Level Zero information reveals how frequently ambulance crews are overburdened due to insufficient personnel, excessive 911 calls, lengthy hospital wait times, and soon.
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Jessica Vega Pedersen, president of Multnomah County, was recently interviewed by the media and said, “I think it’s a big issue that I think everybody in government is concerned about — how can we reform the system and what we do?” So that’s a significant concern we both have.
Dispatchers will employ a level zero ambulance as a stand-in until the next available ambulance is ready to be dispatched.
After acquiring the data in early May, the sources have been reviewing and clarifying it with BOEC experts in recent weeks to identify and separate out individual level zero calls.
The data demonstrates a considerable backlog of emergency services, with no available ambulances for the next emergency call, when 15 or more 911 calls receive placeholders within an hour.
The BOEC data does not reveal how long it took for ambulances to arrive at each scene.
“It’s incredibly troubling,” Vega Pedersen emphasized. “I mean, I think all of us, if we were having some kind of family emergency medical emergency, would want to be able to pick up the phone and have an ambulance come to respond.”
Fire crews are typically the first responders on the scene in level zero incidents and for 911 calls in general. But firefighters do not transport patients to hospitals, so they and the injured must wait together for an ambulance.
Despite thousands of level zero cases and sluggish response times, Vega Pederson and Multnomah County have not yet punished AMR. Between January 1 and May 31 of 2023, the county received 50,025 calls for emergency assistance, or roughly 10,000 calls each month. If this percentage were applied to the total amount of medical emergency calls, it would indicate that about 10% were not accessible for ambulance dispatch. Follow our website for more news