Shortage impacts emergency services in Indianapolis

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Updated: .

The city is reportedly short-handed when it comes to emergency management workers and is taking ambulances out of service. In one recent incident, a patient died after waiting more than 30 minutes for an ambulance crew to arrive.

The early evening call for help at 7:17 pm on May 14th came from the On the Border restaurant on 86th Street in Castleton.

Someone was unconscious.

Just a minute away, IFD Station 9 and an Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services ambulance. But there was a big problem: Medic 9 was out of service because there was no crew to operate it.

A few miles away, a backup Fishers medic was out on a call, leaving firefighters on Engine 9 rushing to the scene alone to provide assistance.

The city's closest ambulance, Medic 44, was en route from 38th and Shadeland, more than seven miles away from Castleton.

At the scene, the patient was in cardiac arrest and needed skilled medics and an ambulance fast.

Tipsters tell 13 Investigates this is the latest example of crews spread too thin across the city.

IEMS provided few details. But based on the times the agency provided, 13 Investigates created a troubling timeline:

At 7:20 that evening, three minutes after the initial call, IFD Engine 9 marked on the scene and began efforts to resuscitate. That's just part of what was needed. The firefighters had no way of transporting the victim.

Four minutes later, dispatchers decided to disregard Medic 44, the crew coming all the way from 38th and Shadeland.

At 7:27 pm, another Fishers medic marked en route, headed for the restaurant.

The scramble for crews also brought more firefighters. Engine 39 from Lawrence also marked on scene.

An IEMS spokesman says while crews waited on an ambulance to show up, the firefighters were able to regain a pulse on the victim.

But it wasn't until 7:37 pm - 20 minutes after the initial call - that an ambulance crew finally arrived. That crew was Fishers Medic 94

Within 10 minutes, the patient was transported to the Community Heart Hospital and arrived just four minutes later at 7:51 pm. Unfortunately, it may have been too late. The patient died and now, insiders tell 13 Investigates the city has to do better.

13 Investigates is still awaiting the official dispatch calls and reports on this incident.

An Indianapolis EMS spokesman says crews operated within the standard of care guidelines and says this is an example of how the city's mutual aid process works.

But insiders tell us 20 minutes to get an ambulance on scene is just too long and creates unnecessary risks.

We will continue to look into this issue.

Ambulance Timeline

7:17 pm Call of unconscious person - medics alerted
7:17 pm IEMS Medic 9 - AMBULANCE OUT OF SERVICE (between 5 and 9pm)
7:17 pm Fishers medic on a run, unable to respond
7:17 pm IEMS Medic 44 en route from 38th & Shadeland
7:20 pm IFD Engine 9 marks on scene
7:24 pm IEMS Medic 44 from 38th and Shadeland disregarded
7:27 pm Fishers medic 94 en route
7:31 pm Lawrence Engine 39 marks on scene
7:37 pm Fishers Medic 94 arrived on scene (20 minutes after call first medics and ambulance arrive)
7:47 pm Patient transported from restaurant
7:51 pm Patient arrives at hospital (34 minutes after initial call)