OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The complaint against the Oswego Fire Department’s ambulance service being investigated by the state Department of Health apparently isn’t an isolated incident.
Multiple sources have confirmed there are at least three other incidents.
Besides the woman who was forced to call a private ambulance service in Fulton after she had allegedly been refused ambulance service by Oswego Fire Department there are reports of two other women allegedly being refused treatment and a bleeding man who had to be taken to the hospital by a police officer.
“And, those are just the ones that I have found out about,” said Sixth Ward Councilor Bill Sharkey.
There is probably more than just four, he said following this week’s Common Council meeting.
“I got numerous calls over the weekend from concerned citizens about the situation that date back to 2005 and 2007,” he said, adding, “Systematically, our fire department has been allowed to do whatever they choose.”
Officials at Oswego Fire Department say that they can’t comment due to the on-going Health Department investigation.
The department would like to address the recent reports circulating through the media concerning our ambulance service, the chief said in a press statement today (Jan. 13).
“Any and all concerns that are brought against any ambulance service or advance life support service are handled through the respective agencies Continuing Quality Improvement (CQI) Committee.Ã‚Â These committees are governed by New York State Public Health Law, Article 30, Section 3006 and all regional and local policies,” according to Oswego Fire Chief Joe Perry.
No person on these committees is allowed to discuss anything that has been brought before it; this is in accordance with the NYS Public Health Law stated above, he added.
“If and when any concerns are brought before this committee concerning the Oswego City Fire Department they will be handled accordingly,” the chief said.
“They come and go as they please and do as they please. There’s no threat of any repercussions,” Sharkey said of the fire department. “If anybody knows of more of these instances out there Ã¢â‚¬â€œ contact me 343-2243. I’ll add it to the list I’ve already got.”
Council President Dan Donovan chaired this week’s council meeting in the mayor’s absence.
He said he doesn’t know if this situation is related in any way with an overtime imbroglio between some councilors and the fire department. The council isn’t privy to the health department’s investigation, he explained.
He said he isn’t worried about firefighters not responding to a call.
“The fire department is always right there. Every time they’re called, they have to answer the call,” he said. “I have no qualms about that.”
“Instead of suspensions (for firefighters who get in trouble), I think we ought to have a complete policy change down there. I think the city attorney ought to develop one for them or else find somebody with some experience to run (the department),” said Miles Becker.
Speaking at the public session prior to the council meeting, Becker continued, “It’s not time to suspend them; It’s time to get them into some rules, job requirements. They know better. They know what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s what they get trained for every day. Let’s get it done, get that fire department under control.”