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blizzard of 2010

During the Blizzard, at Least 200 Ambulances Were Stuck or Blocked by Cars and Snow

The Times this morning has a difficult-to-read story about some of the medical tragedies — and heroism — that took place during the storm, as emergency vehicles and personnel were hampered by the overwhelming snow and poor conditions. In one part of town, hospital workers were forced to drag patients out on toboggans and sleds because of a fire. In another, a woman gave birth in her vestibule before help could arrive, and lost her child. Bystanders everywhere did their best to flag down help for strangers, but often the help was too long in coming.

According to the city, by Tuesday some 200 ambulances had been trapped by the snow. Eventually, emergency workers were ordered to consult with doctors after delivering twenty minutes of life-saving effort on nonresponsive patients: There just wasn't enough time to spend on each one. Still, there were some uplifting moments: In Rego Park, for example, an ambulance that had teamed up with a four-wheel drive Suburban to patrol the streets to help wherever they could ended up rescuing a man with severe hypothermia. Passersby had found him and remained with him for hours until the help arrived.

With Ambulances Stuck in Snow, City Resorted to Triage [NYT]

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