NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – EMTs blame drivers for blocking the entrance to a busy emergency center in Brooklyn.
They say when the seconds matter most, cars are getting in the way of the ambulance bay.
As EMTs prepared to move a patient from the Brooklyn Hospital Center to another location Friday, they told CBS2's Natalie Duddridge that just last week they couldn't do their jobs – the ambulance was trapped, because cars were clogging the emergency area.
"We couldn't get the patient out, because we were blocked in here. The whole entrance was blocked in," Nicholas Rodriguez said in the exclusive interview.
Rodriguez said every day cars double park on DeKalb Avenue, causing a chain reaction of backups that slow traffic to a crawl and delay sick patients from getting urgent care.
"God forbid something happens to a patient while he's back here," EMT Ed Samuel said.
Hospital staff members say they've had to unload patients on the sidewalk, because taxis and Ubers are dropping off where they're not supposed to.
While Duddridge was outside the hospital, at least a dozen cars drove the wrong way out the entrance.
"It's a constant struggle to come down to DeKalb, to make the right into the parking lot. There's taxi cabs, there's regular cars just blocking," EMT Haley Brown said.
Some hospital staff members propose the city remove the metered parking spaces in front of the hospital and make it a no parking zone instead.
"If they make that a no standing zone, say like a cardiac arrest or something happens, the ambulance can pull right there without having to worry about a car being in the way," said Samuel.
But visitors coming to see their loved ones say there's nowhere else to park unless they pay a premium.
"Hospital don't have no parking. You have to pay $13 for half an hour. That's crazy," one man said.
"It's going to be hard for us to find parking," another added.
The Brooklyn borough president says the city is looking into the situation. But EMTs say there should be no question that sick patients come before parking.
Some hospital staff members think the timing of the traffic lights might also be off. They ask drivers not to stop in the intersection in front of the emergency room driveway.
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