Christine Quinn calls for more ambulances after intern faints from heat

City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn

City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn tends to a collapsed intern who fainted during a campaign event. (July 16, 2013) (Credit: DNAinfo/Victoria Bekiempis)

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called for a boost in the number of ambulances during "intense" weather after a 18-year-old intern fainted at a Brooklyn news conference Tuesday.

Fed up after waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, Quinn called Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to get emergency workers to attend intern Yvette Toro, who collapsed at a Williamsburg public school during a news conference about a waste transfer station.

Toro, who works at Councilwoman Diana Reyna's office, was released from the hospital later in the day and didn't suffer any serious injuries.

The speaker, who is running for mayor, said the delay was inexcusable.

"There were four TV cameras, the speaker of the City Council and a council member. It raises questions how long it takes to get anywhere else where there aren't TV cameras and council members," she said.

Quinn met with Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano and other leaders after the incident and gave them a rundown of what happened.

She said she put in a call to 911 about 11:51 a.m. and 10 minutes later her staff called the mayor's office when no ambulance showed up. Around 12:15 p.m., Quinn called Kelly, who called 911 to speed up an ambulance. At 12:21 p.m., a volunteer Hatzolah ambulance, which was requested by the speaker's office, arrived.

"In that meeting, I made it abundantly clear that the fire department's response today was nowhere near satisfactory and nowhere near acceptable," she said.

The FDNY said that the 911 call was not a high priority compared to life-threatening situations going on in the city. The department added that Det. John Madden, who is assigned to Quinn's security detail and is an EMT, aided Toro.

"A call for a nonlife-threatening injury with an alert patient being treated by a trained EMT is appropriately not deemed a high priority, which in some cases like this one, means that it takes longer for an ambulance to get to the scene," the FDNY said in a statement.

Quinn said the FDNY and city hospitals added 14 more ambulances this week to handle additional call volume. On Monday, there were 700 more 911 calls than on average, according to the speaker.

She said the fire commissioner and mayor's office were receptive to her concerns and would look into adding more ambulances as temperatures stay in the 90s this week.

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