An ambulance carrying an 83-year-old car crash victim had to be diverted out of a massive I-93 backup — and a Milton ambulance was delayed — after protesters snarled rush-hour traffic, two furious public safety officials said today.
“Obviously their protest has impacted public safety and thankfully for this gentleman his injuries weren’t life-threatening,” Easton Fire Chief Kevin Partridge said. “I’m sure there were other ambulances out there having the same issues. There are ways of protesting without creating this kind of public safety issue.”
The patient in the ambulance had just been in a serious car crash, Partridge said.
“The gentleman had just been in a car accident and had to be extricated from the vehicle. Obviously, if they were going to the (Boston Medical Center), they must have had some significant injuries,” Partridge said. “They were heading to Boston Medical Center and when they were notified that the highway was shut down they were diverted to Good Samaritan (in Brockton).”
Partridge said the delayed response should serve as a reminder that protesters blocking traffic isn’t just an inconvenience for motorists.
News of the delay spread quickly after a message was posted to the Easton Firefighters Local 2790 Facebook page this morning.
“Due to protesters shutting down I-93, Easton’s Ambulance 1 had to divert from a local Level 1 trauma center to a local hospital,” the message read. “They were the unable to get into Boston in a reasonable transport time, affecting the patient’s ability to get to the proper hospital for treatment.”
The protest also delayed aid to a Milton resident who called 911 at 8:12 a.m. to report a medical emergency, according to Patrick Tyler, Fallon’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“It was not life threatening but it was somebody who needed help and called 911,” Tyler said. “It took nearly twice as long as it normally would to get to that location.”
The patient was taken to Milton Hospital, Tyler said.
“It absolutely did occupy resources,” Tyler said. “That’s four ambulances that were taken out of the municipal 911 system that were not available to respond to calls that we had to back fill.”
State police blasted the action at a press conference this afternoon.
“People’s rights are people’s rights but you’re endangering people’s lives with this type of conduct,” State police commander Col. Timothy Alben said. “Look at the medical facilities we have in this city, people come from all over New England to get treatment here, the five major hospitals, Dana Farber — who is stuck in this traffic today? Is anyone asking that question?”
He noted the protest strained other ambulances as well as EMTs were called in to cut off concrete handcuffs from protesters who had attached themselves to 1,200-pound barrels.
“The Fallon ambulance service had to divert four ambulances and a shift supervisor down to that interstate highway in Milton just to attend to what we were trying to do,” he said. “And that was to cut those barrels off of those individuals without inflicting any harm on them or creating any added emergency or danger to those people that were down there on that highway.”
The concrete had to jack-hammered out of the barrels, Alben said.
He added: “The fire departments responded to help us with this. We had a multitude of troopers take from all over the metro area to deal with this particular situation and I would say to you that this is not only immature and not only irresponsible but the conduct is reckless and it is endangering people’s lives.”
The activists were protesting what they referred to as “police and state violence against black people.”
—Courtesy of Weasel Zippers