Last Wednesday, an ambulance was not dispatched to a traffic accident in Lodi, even though some victims were injured and taken to the hospital.
So say San Joaquin County's Emergency Medical Services Department administrator and the county counsel's office.
County officials are conducting an audit of police dispatch calls to see if dispatchers are properly dispatching ambulances.
The incident was raised in light of an investigation by the county's EMS Department following a complaint that Lodi dispatchers weren't sending American Medical Response on calls consistently, according a letter dated Friday from Deputy County Counsel Mark Myles to Deputy City Attorney Janice Magdich.
A county EMS agency analyst reviewed tapes of medical calls on Wednesday, Burch said. The county agency is auditing recent calls requiring emergency medical service in Lodi, a report that Burch said may be completed by Friday.
"The preliminary investigation revealed that LPD dispatch center medical service call-handling procedures were delaying the transfer of calls to (AMR)," Myles said in his letter.
Interim Police Chief Gary Benincasa and police Lt. Steve Carillo, who oversees the dispatch system, are cooperating fully with county EMS in its investigation of Lodi's dispatch system, Burch said.
Fortunately, last Wednesday's traffic collision turned out all right, but perhaps only because an ambulance driver from AMR happened to see a fire truck pull from the station and asked what the call was, Myles said. The AMR ambulance showed up to the accident location and took the victims to the hospital, Myles said.
"We're still looking into specifics of the incident," county EMS Administrator Dan Burch said.
However, Carillo said that Myles' letter is too vague for him to investigate. He said he can't research what happened because the letter doesn't give a time or location.
Furthermore, Lodi police has operated its dispatch system the same way since Lodi and the county settled a lawsuit over control of ambulance service, Carillo said.
Under the agreement, Lodi police dispatchers would transfer EMS calls to Lifecom, which has a contract with the county to dispatch ambulances, Burch said. Lifecom, in turn, would dispatch AMR to Lodi calls, he added.
"We were shown the way to (dispatch), and we haven't changed how we do it," Carillo said.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.