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Pregnant woman forced to wait an hour for ambulance after car crash

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 1:29 AM MST|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 1:30 AM MST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A pregnant woman from Virginia says she waited for an hour for paramedics to arrive after she was involved in a car crash because every ambulance in the city was busy at the time.

Shannon Ronaldson stopped to help an injured 37-week pregnant mother after a three-car crash in a Richmond, Virginia, intersection last Saturday. She had been delivering food for GrubHub when she saw the mother, Latanya Thornton, getting out of her wrecked car.

“I used to be a medical assistant, and I was told by my teacher back in 2009 that if you see an accident, you have to stop. And that’s just the type of person I am,” Ronaldson said.

Thornton says she was injured when a driver ran a red light and hit her car. Richmond Fire arrived on the scene within seven minutes and requested an ambulance.

Ronaldson waited with Thornton and her family – her young children were in the car at the time, and her mother rushed to the scene – for the ambulance, broadcasting the incident on Facebook Live. She and Thornton’s family were worried they would further injure the mother if they transported her themselves.

“They’re trying to get an ambulance from Chesterfield because no one is available. This is not OK, and there needs to be light to the situation,” she said in the video.

About an hour passed before paramedics arrived to take Thornton to the hospital.

A spokesman with the Richmond Ambulance Authority says all eight ambulances were on other emergency calls at the time of the accident. Three units were responding to “Priority 1” calls for patients suffering from life-threatening injuries, and five were in route or already at the hospital with patients.

Because of low employee numbers, RAA can only staff about half the number of ambulances the city needs during the day.

Thornton said in a text that she was told her injuries did not meet the Priority 1 criteria.

“I was livid at this point laying on hard ground,” she wrote. “I could not believe they had [me] out there for over an hour because of this accident.”

The mother went into labor Tuesday at the hospital. She says her baby daughter wasn’t due until July 4.

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