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Aug 11, 2015 3:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Ambulance Chief Defends Crew In Wake Of Death At Rogers Beach In Westhampton Beach

The Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance

, whose crew members were criticized by some witnesses for their response following the August 1 death of a swimmer at Rogers Beach, confirmed this week that it took seven minutes for a first responder to arrive at the scene.
Aug 12, 2015 12:32 PM

The chief of the Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance, whose crew members were criticized by some witnesses for the speed of their response following the August 1 death of a swimmer at Rogers Beach, said this week that it took just seven minutes for a first responder to arrive at the scene.

The Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed last week by The Press, on Monday also confirmed that the call in question was received at 1:40 p.m. on August 1—the same time that the Westhampton Beach Village Police were notified of the same possible drowning.

County officials confirmed that the ambulance company’s first responder—who was still answering a “traumatic injury” call at Cupsogue Beach that was received 45 minutes earlier—arrived at Rogers Beach at 1:47 p.m. The responding ambulance, meanwhile, was on the road by 1:48 p.m.—eight minutes after the initial call came in—and made it to Rogers Beach at 1:53 p.m., at which time crew members took over resuscitation efforts, according to the county records.

Immediately following the death of the swimmer, later identified as 23-year-old Jordan Boris of Brooklyn, several eyewitnesses estimated that it took ambulance crews between 20 and 30 minutes to arrive. Officials said he died after suffering some sort of medical event while in the surf, though the results of an autopsy are still pending.

“If you’re standing there and your house is on fire … even if the fire truck is there in a few minutes, the minutes feel like hours,” said Albert Tudisco, the Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance chief and a former chief of the Westhampton Beach Fire Department, said in an interview on Friday.

Mr. Tudisco, who insisted that his ambulance crews never take between 20 and 30 minutes to respond to a call, added that it is “frustrating” to hear such criticisms, especially when those leveling the accusations are not keeping close tabs on a clock.

Witness Debra Treto of Center Moriches, who said both she and her family watched the rescue attempt, estimated that it took more than 20 minutes for the first EMT to arrive. Similarly, Alison Cohen of Staten Island, a registered respiratory therapist employed with Staten Island University Hospital, said she also witnessed the ordeal and also participated in the ongoing CPR rotation prior to officers arriving. “It took the EMTs took good half hour to get there,” Ms. Cohen said at the time.

But the parents of the victim, Roberta and Harris Boris of Westhampton and Roslyn, who were there when their son suffered some sort of seizure while in the ocean, did not have an issue with the response time of paramedics, according to their daughter, Lisa Boris of Great Neck.

“They didn’t criticize [the response],” said Ms. Boris, who was not at the beach the day her only brother died. “But my mom believes that everything that could have been done was done. They did everything they could have and we believe that.”

When the call came in at 1:40 p.m. on August 1, it was categorized as a “delta,” which alerts responders that the patient is a high priority, according to Mr. Tudisco. That category was determined based on information received through the 911 call, he said.

On a typical call, a pager goes off at ambulance company headquarters on Hazelwood Avenue in Westhampton Beach, and the dispatcher—in this instance, a dispatcher with Suffolk County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services—informs officials of the situation. The outfit’s first responder, a paid paramedic with his own transportation, is simultaneously alerted and, in most cases, arrives at the scene well ahead of an ambulance, which must wait for a full crew before hitting the road.

While both the first responder and ambulance were en route on August 1, lifeguards had already started CPR and even attempted to administer an automated external defibrillator, or AED, on Jordan Boris; the device did not administer a shock, meaning that such action would not have helped Mr. Boris, according to officials. Responding Village Police officers then continued CPR and also affixed their own AED to Mr. Boris; again, the device did not administer a shock.

The first responder arrived at the scene after the police officers and immediately intubated Mr. Boris, providing him with an airway, according to Mr. Tudisco.

The ambulance arrived at the scene at 1:53 p.m. and transported Mr. Boris to the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said. The Suffolk County medical examiner’s office has not yet released the results of an autopsy, according to Ms. Boris. She said it could be several weeks before her family learns the results.

As for Mr. Tudisco, he said his responders did all in their power to save Mr. Boris.

“We do whatever it takes to bring someone back,” he said, noting that his crews have made four saves so far this year. “Our job is to take care of people, clean up the mess and do the best you can.”

He explained that his company, which boasts about 50 volunteers, always has at least one of its 12 paid paramedics on duty. He also noted that his outfit has three ambulances and two first responder vehicles, and that the company provides coverage from Eastport to Quogue, including all of Dune Road between East Quogue and Cupsogue Beach County Park, which is technically in East Moriches.

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maybe a small helicoptor that can land on the ocean could assist in events like this

how can you fight the summer traffic on the roads??

By llimretaw (118), watermill on Aug 11, 15 5:27 PM
You can't, unless visitors and locals move to the right when they see flashing blue or green lights in their rear view mirror! Help our EMT's help YOU!
By ValGal03 (53), Montauk on Aug 13, 15 2:19 PM
Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance does a great job-always-enough said
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Aug 11, 15 8:00 PM
Complainers - if you want better response times we could hire full-time paid EMT's around the clock, and create a substation at each beach. This would only add $1M - $2M of expense to the budgets, which would be recoupled through higher taxes.

I miss the days before everyone flocked out here and expected to be rescued from themselves. You take risks with everything, including swimming. Get over it.
By Funbeer (247), Southampton on Aug 12, 15 1:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
This article should not even be a story - if the press had done more research before posting the earlier article about the unfortunate death of the swimmer and stated in the article the actual response times -7 minutes for the first-responder and 13-minutes for the ambulance instead of the "20 to 30 minutes" as stated by witnesses then the chief would not have needed to defend his crew.
By Rich Morey (331), East Hampton on Aug 12, 15 9:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
An ambulance getting to Rogers beach in 13 minutes with summer traffic and a crew is pretty incredible. We have a traffic problem which is getting worse. I think it is time to give volunteers around here some kind of benefits or small retirement plan. We pay cops a 150k a year, and these guys get zero? Our ambulance, and fire fighters get a bad deal, and the reality is it's expensive to live here. We need to subsidize their income or they wont be able to help the community or go on calls.
By chief1 (2534), southampton on Aug 15, 15 8:24 AM