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UN Now Tells ICP Ambulance Stopped Because At "Incorrect" Entrance

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 16 -- Five hours after Inner City Press reported the UN's delay of an ambulance responding to a worker's seizure barely 100 feet from the Security Council, the UN Monday night provided a guarded response, claiming that it was the ambulance's fault for approaching from the wrong gate.

While it is questionable that such a dodge would hold up in a court of law, the UN also claims immunity from all lawsuits, all responsibility, so we will perhaps never know.

At 2:30 pm on April 16, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon top two spokesman the following, in writing:

"Hello - This is a request, in the context of a troubling / exclusive story, for the UN's response to staff complaints that earlier today when an NYC Ambulance came to respond to an audio technician collapsing some 100 feet from the Security Council, the ambulance was delayed at the First Avenue gate:

'when an ambulance and fire truck arrived at the UN on First Avenue they were told that only fire trucks could come in, not ambulances... a UN Security officer closest to the technician's collapse on Monday had a walkie-talkie which reportedly did not function. Finally, the UN Security guard at the First Avenue gate said he would take it on himself and allow the ambulance in. Even then, the emergency medical technicians were led through the Visitors' Tent, leading to further delay.'

"As raised at today's noon briefing, I have other questions. But this is a request for your / DSS' response, an email in reply to this question, as quickly as possible."

  Four hours later, after Inner City Press learned from whistleblowing UN staff even more about the incident, including the first name of the seizure victim -- Julio -- and what hospital he is in -- Presbyterian -- Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office sent this (non) response:

Subject: Re: Your question
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

There was no delay in allowing the ambulance personnel into the premises once they arrived at the correct location. We will provide a full reply at the noon briefing tomorrow.

  Inner City Press immediately replied:

"But tomorrow at noon I will be covering the Thabo Mbeki / Haile Menkerios briefing of the Security Council about the two Sudans. I asked your Office a question, asking for a response: hours later you send a vague denial and say you will give the full answer to at the noon briefing. I neither understand nor agree with this strange way of replying. Please explain asap."

  After that and another story, the following came in:

There was no delay in allowing the ambulance personnel into the premises once they arrived at the correct location. There was some delay when the ambulance was repositioned as explained below. However, it’s important to note that SSS EMT personnel were with the patient at 1212 providing basic first aid and stabilizing him. In fact all internal procedures for dealing with this worked well.

The ambulance first showed up at Post 105 (delegates entrance) instead of Post 106 (visitors entrance) where it would have afforded much more convenient access for conveying the patient to the ambulance. Once the ambulance repositioned to 106 (visitors entrance) the first responders came into the visitors entrance without delay. The patient was then transported by stretcher chair via Post 106 to the ambulance parked outside the post.

The statement in the Inner City Press report that upon arrival at the UN Security Post the EMS team was told that only fire trucks could come in, is unfounded. It is standard procedure to utilize Post 106 for access by EMS personnel responding to medical emergencies occurring in the GA building area, and therefore there was no requirement for any of the two responding vehicles to enter the premises, nor would it have made any difference if they did.

On the statement that one of the responding UN Security Officers radio did not function, this is also unfounded. The supervisor on the scene reported that the radios of all responding personnel were in working order.

Further, the final statement that after more than five minutes the Officer at the gate took it upon himself to let the ambulance in, is also unfounded, as the ambulance was relocated to the established staging area for receipt of the patient and there was no need for it to enter the premises.

  We publish the statement in full, even as UN staff express outrage to Inner City Press about the delay and dodge. One staff member Monday night in the North Law Building described to Inner City Press having watched a man die waiting for an ambulance inside the UN, and vowed to crawl out to the sidewalk, if necessary.

  The decree of distrust between UN staff and the Ban Ki-moon administration is exemplified by a "Motion of No Confidence" circulating April 16 in the North Lawn, regarding which Inner City Press immediately sought a response from the official complained of, so far without response. We will have more on this. Watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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