When senior Sarah Anscher began demonstrating signs of a concussion at Sunday’s Powderpuff football game, QU Security said appropriate protocol was followed.
Nicole Fraser, graduate assistant to Greek organizations, made the call to Security. Security called Health Services. Health Services called the Hamden Fire Department. The Hamden Fire Department called an ambulance.
According to witnesses, Anscher was on the ground for about 45 minutes and showed photosensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and an initial moment of unconsciousness.
“The response was slower than expected,” Chief of Security David Barger said. “I understand … it took a long time for the ambulance to respond.”
The system still developed in a “timely fashion,” Barger said.
Several students at the Powderpuff game, however, were not as satisfied.
“It was just disheartening to watch,” sophomore Heidi Hitchen said. “To see everyone involved taking their time when she clearly needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible was shocking. I hope I never get seriously injured on campus.”
According to senior Adam Horgan, the security guards “strolled across the Quad like it was a casual Sunday walk.”
“I think the response time was kind of slow,” said Valencia Constant, Phi Sigma Sigma president. “If the situation was worse than it was, I felt like QU wouldn’t know what to do because they didn’t respond in a swift and timely manner.”
Barger said Sunday’s incident was not deemed high priority. Security was also delayed because within the same hour, they had to respond to two fire alarms, and an injury on the soccer field that also required an ambulance.
According to Deputy Chief Robert Surprise of the Hamden Fire Dept., Security calls dispatch to explain the situation and direct them to the scene. If a call were to come in from a student, dispatch would respond in the same manner but still have to inform Security.
Surprise explained that the fire department gets there first to assess the situation, since all are trained at the EMT level and some are trained at the paramedic level. They then determine if an ambulance is needed.
“Most people expect us to show up with lights and a siren but it’s not always the case if the dispatcher determines it’s not worthy,” Surprise said. “If they show up without lights and a siren, everyone wants to know what takes them so long to get there. Sometimes it is a little bit of a delay if the incident reporting went through Security first.”
What students may not realize is the University’s lack of control over how long it takes an ambulance to reach campus.
“The ambulance isn’t just sitting there waiting for us–that’s the problem,” Director of Student Health Services Kathryn Macaione said. “There is an ambulance that’s usually at the end of Hamden. If that ambulance is on call, then we have to wait for one to be dispatched – no matter what [the situation].”
There are certain events where it is protocol to have an ambulance present, such as concerts or athletic events at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Although there were student EMTs at the scene, according to Barger, it is necessary to have a nurse present no matter what the situation.
“What does the Health Center have that no one else here has? They have medical information about the particular student,” Barger said. “Here on a college campus we take that extra step because…a student EMT on the scene may not know [important information].”
Barger acknowledged that bringing in an EMT for other events may be something to look into.
“I don’t see why the University doesn’t have an EMT on staff 24/7 to respond to campus emergencies, period. The end….Why we don’t have somebody here who is trained to deal with emergency situations is beyond me,” Horgan said.