City faces $40M suit in 4-year-old’s death after 911 system delays discovered

Posted at 8:36 PM, Jun 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-13 17:12:48-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) – The emotional mother of 4 year old Ariel Russo read from a prepared statement and tearfully described the little girl she lost just over a week ago,. explaining why her family has decided to pursue a 40-million dollar lawsuit against the city of New York, its police department and EMS

Citing recklessness from the police department’s pursuit of an unlicensed teenage driver, who struck and killed Russo and seriously injured her grandmother Katia Gutierez, as well what is cited in the notice of claim as failure by EMS to timely and properly respond for medical assistance, Sanford Rubenstein, the family’s attorney, said the family believes the city must be forced to fix its highly criticized new 911 operating system.

“The people of NYC are at risk because of the existence of problems with this system,” said Rubenstein.

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During a police chase an SUV struck and killed a 4-year-old girl — a four minute delay in EMS response has sparked investigations and now a $40M lawsuit. FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano blames human error for the delays.

Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano has repeatedly insisted there are no serious issues the new operating system known as ICAD, designed to handle a greater number of emergency calls with more efficiently. Additionally, he has said there was also no guarantee the 4 minute delay in sending an ambulance for Russo would have saved her life.  Rubenstein, however, feels differently.

“At this point in time we believe that this 4 minute delay caused her death, said Rubenstein.

The heightened media attention and now a hefty lawsuit facing the city has forced the City Council to call for an Emergency OVersight Hearing.

Queens Councilman, Peter Vallone, chairs the Committee for Public Safety and said he has been aware of numerous instances of the system not working properly, but also dispatchers complaining of being understaffed and overworked, which could lead to more human error. and place the public at potential risk.