UPDATE: OSF Releases Statement on Delayed Ambulance Response to Murder Scene

By: Lauren Kravets, Jorge Rodas Email
By: Lauren Kravets, Jorge Rodas Email
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An OSF spokesperson has issued a statement in connection to a recent report showing a Lifeline ambulance went to the wrong address when responding to a shooting call in Rockford.

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UPDATE: An OSF spokesperson has released the following statement in connection to a recent report showing a Lifeline ambulance went to the wrong address when responding to a shooting call in Rockford.

"OSF Lifeline Ambulance worked with the Rockford Fire Department in conducting its investigation of the May 26 incident and assisted in the development of the recommended procedures outlined by Rockford Fire. These procedures should improve communication in all phases of the dispatch process between Rockford Fire and the voluntary private ambulance services. OSF Lifeline remains committed to serving Rockford and the surrounding communities and providing the highest quality service and care."


UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A Rockford Fire Department report shows a Lifeline ambulance went to the wrong address when responding to a shooting call on the 500 block of Pearl Street in Rockford.

In all, it took roughly 23 minutes for an ambulance to get to the scene; nearly 32 minutes to get the patient to the hospital after the first ambulance was dispatched.

Paramedics were responding to a shooting incident where 21-year-old Andrew Barth was shot in the chest. He was later pronounced dead at Swedish American Hospital.

Ambulances with the Rockford Fire Department typically respond to incidents in the city within 7.5 minutes, but on that day, all seven units were tied up so OSF Lifeline Ambulance accepted the call.

It wasn't until 12 minutes after being dispatched that the Lifeline Ambulance notified their call center that they were at the wrong address, responding to Pearl Avenue near Huffman on the city's northwest side instead of 512 Pearl Street near Charles Street on the city's east side.

The Rockford Fire Department report shows that their dispatch operator did tell MedCom, the dispatcher for Lifeline, the incident was at 512 Pearl Street. The MedCom operator responded "512 Pearl... got it."

According to the report MedCom told the Lifeline Ambulance to respond to 512 Pearl, not 512 Pearl Street.

The Rockford Fire Department report also shows the Rockford Fire dispatcher gave Rockford Fire Department units a map reference of "Adam Xray 38" which is a code that helps responding units more clearly understand where they are going. The report shows that the Rockford Fire 911 dispatcher did not give that same map reference to the MedCom operator nor was it relayed to the Lifeline ambulance.

We asked Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten if giving a map reference is proper protocol but as of 3:50pm Thursday, there has been no response.

Our newsroom also put a call into OSF for a comment and they declined to make any.

Here are the Rockford Fire Department recommendations listed in the report:

After reviewing Standard Operating Procedures and department police we have made these following recommendations.

1. Require operators of licensed ALS ambulance services that provide back-up coverage for Rockford Fire would complete a driver safety course. Such topics of the course shall include:
a. Emergency Vehicle Operators Course (EVOC) or similar training.
b. Map Book Training

2. Recommend that private ambulance providers install and use Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVL) in all their ambulances, allowing their dispatch entity to track their location.

3. Provide private ambulance companies with the numeric address and street name to include; the direction, type of road and Rockford map page reference. The private ambulance company will acknowledge by repeating the complete information back to the Rockford dispatcher, who will then confirm and acknowledge the correctness of the response. The Rockford dispatcher will request what the unit will be responding and from what location. When the private ambulance unit verifies on assigned fire channel, they will give their unit number, verify the dispatch information including address of call and provide response location, and the Rockford dispatcher will then confirm and acknowledge the correctness of that dispatch information including the address of the call.

4. Formalize agreements with private ambulance service providers to include conflict resolution and clear expectations of response capabilities.

5. Private ambulances will continually monitor radio traffic and respond when contacted on the assigned Rockford Fire channel until the call is completed.

6. Rockford Fire Department will provide annual updates on the map books to the private ambulance providers.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) – 21-year-old Andrew Barth lost his life Memorial Day after being shot in the chest. Now, there are questions about whether he could’ve been saved.

Ambulances with the Rockford Fire Department typically respond to incidents in the city within 7.5 minutes, but on Monday, all seven units were tied up so OSF Lifeline Ambulance accepted the call.

The call came in at 1:16 p.m. At 1:19 OSF said it was headed to the scene. Two minutes later a Rockford Fire Truck arrived and asked OSF when it would get there. They said 2-3 minutes. Rockford Fire called back four minutes later and got no response. Another OSF ambulance said it would respond, but Rockford Fire finally had a free ambulance and sent it. That ambulance got there at 1:42, 26 minutes after the initial call.

Police say Barth and another person in his pick-up truck got into a fight with two people in a dark-colored mini-van. One of those suspects shot Barth in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the hospital nearly an hour after being shot.

"This could have cost him his life. Nobody is ever going to know if they could've saved my son or not, because there's no answer when he's 26 minutes lying at a scene,” said Andrew’s father, Tim Barth.

"We were doing everything possible, our men and women are trained professionals and we do not like to have any bad outcomes like this especially,” said Chief Derek Bergsten with the Rockford Fire Department.

The Rockford Fire Department is doing a review as to why the OSF ambulance never arrived. That review should be complete next week.

In a statement from OSF, it says their average ambulance response time is 8 minutes, but times can vary depending on different factors. They say in this case, Rockford fire called them off because they had a unit closer. Police are still searching for the suspects in Barth’s murder.


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