Tragedy struck in Portland as a man lost his life due to a delayed ambulance response following a hit-and-run incident. Dispatch logs obtained by KGW-TV shed light on the distressing incident, revealing that American Medical Response, the contracted provider for Multnomah County, was operating at level zero—indicating a lack of available ambulances for emergency calls.
The incident occurred in late April when both firefighters and an ambulance crew were dispatched to the scene in northeast Portland. The victim, who remains publicly unidentified, was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross the street in a wheelchair.
Upon arrival, firefighters discovered that American Medical Response was operating at level zero, leaving them unable to promptly transport the injured man. Dispatch logs documented the painstaking wait as firefighters worked to stabilize the victim while desperately awaiting an ambulance.
The timeline recorded in the logs reflects the severity of the situation: the initial dispatch occurred at 12:10 a.m., firefighters arrived at 12:14 a.m., and the ambulance finally arrived at 12:42 a.m. However, it was too late. The man had tragically passed away, rendering the need for hospital transport unnecessary.
The Portland Fire Fighters’ Association expressed their frustration, highlighting the recurring issue of level zero situations. Isaac McLennan, the association’s president, emphasized the dangers posed by this shortage of available ambulances, urging the community to demand better.
Multnomah County officials have previously stated that ambulances should reach 90% of emergency calls within eight minutes. However, KGW-TV’s investigation revealed that this benchmark was missed approximately one-third of the time over a five-month period.
Global Medical Response, the parent company of American Medical Response, acknowledged the incident and stated that a review is underway. They reaffirmed their commitment to timely responses and patient safety.
As Portland grapples with this heartbreaking incident, the urgent need for improved ambulance availability and response times becomes a crucial concern. Efforts must be made to ensure that such delays do not compromise the safety and lives of community members in need.