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Death of Newborn Among Several Blizzard Tragedies

NY Daily News

A blizzard baby delivered inside the lobby of a snowbound Crown Heights building died after an emergency call of a woman in labor brought no help for nine excruciating hours.

The baby’s mother, a 22-year-old college senior, was recovering Tuesday night at Interfaith Medical Center, where her newborn was pronounced dead at 6:34 p.m. on Monday. That was 10 hours after the first 911 call from the bloody vestibule on Brooklyn Ave. in Crown Heights.

“No one could get to her. Crown Heights was not plowed, and no medical aid came for hours,” said the student’s mother.

By the time a horde of firefighters and cops finally trooped to her aid through snow-covered blocks, the baby was unconscious and unresponsive, sources said.

Details of the tragedy emerged as the abominable snowstorm continued to wreak havoc across a city still digging out from the wintry blast. Some of the other blizzard horrors include:

– In Queens, a woman tried to reach 911 operators for 20 minutes Monday and then waited for three hours for first responders to arrive. By then, her mom had died, state Sen. Jose Peralta’s office said.

Laura Freeman, 41, said her mother, Yvonne Freeman, 75, woke her at 8 a.m. because she was having trouble breathing. When the daughter couldn’t get through to 911, she enlisted neighbors and relatives, who also began calling.

One of the callers reached an operator at 8:20 a.m., but responders stymied by snow-clogged streets didn’t reach the Corona home until 11:05 a.m., said Peralta, who wants the death investigated.

“The EMS workers walked down the block trudging through snow,” Freeman said. “They tried. I could tell by the look on their faces. I really would just like [Mayor] Bloomberg to admit that there were casualties.”

– A woman in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, was forced to spend the night with her dead father after the medical examiner’s office took more than 24 hours to claim his body. Ismael Vazquez died at 10:31 a.m. on Monday, and the 82-year-old man’s body remained in his bed until 1 p.m. yesterday. His daughter kept vigil in the living room.

“This is New York City, and I’m a New Yorker, and this is not the first storm we’ve ever had,” said Florence Simancas, 51, holding back tears. “Somebody dropped the ball … big-time.”

– A Brooklyn woman was left sobbing at a Bay Ridge bus stop yesterday when the driver said there was no way to get her to a doctor’s appointment in Bensonhurst.

“Please help. I have a doctor’s appointment that is important and I can’t get nowhere,” 64-year-old Ludmila Kowalow said. “I don’t know what to do,” she added, throwing her hands in the air.

– A 76-year-old Bay Ridge heart attack victim nearly died when an FDNY ambulance became stuck in a snowbank, but he was rescued by a gang of good Samaritans lugging him through the unplowed streets on a sled fashioned from a gurney.

“My husband could be dead right now,” said Lucy Pastore, whose husband, Salvatore, was in stable condition at Lutheran Medical Center. “The mayor acts like this is a minor inconvenience. Makes me sick.”

Still, nothing approached the tragedy of the newborn on the busiest day for 911 calls since Sept. 11, 2001.

The pregnant woman was walking from her home to the nearby hospital in the still-swirling snow when she ducked into the building lobby, unable to make it any farther.

The young woman had not told her family she was pregnant – she didn’t want to disappoint relatives – or that she and her college boyfriend had decided to put the child up for adoption.

An 8:30 a.m. 911 call was made, with the caller saying the birth wasn’t imminent, a Fire Department source told the Daily News. The call received a low priority, and the city unsuccessfully tried twice to contact the caller during the next few hours, the source said. A second, more urgent 911 call at 4:30 p.m. reported the woman was bleeding and the baby was crowning – and the call was upgraded to level two, the source said.

An hour later, the NYPD contacted the FDNY/EMS to report the baby had been delivered but was unconscious. Cops cut the umbilical cord and tried to revive the newborn, police source said.

The call was then upgraded to level one – highest priority – and an FDNY crew arrived in 12 minutes, sources said. EMTs were on the scene at 6 p.m.

“The mayor was spouting nonsense to say Crown Heights was plowed. It wasn’t,” the woman’s mother said. “No one could get to her … any other day she would have gotten to a hospital.”

The city medical examiner will do an autopsy today on the baby.


  • 1. Were was Hatzoloh? wrote:

    No Hatzoloh? Even with out the ambulance? No one in the building called Hatzoloh? 4:30 in the afternoon? I thought every block has a few Hatzoloh Chevreh! The Cops didn’t think of calling Hatzoloh? Did she live in the “Jewish Part” o CH? Did Yidden see this? Could a Yid have called Hatzoloh? The news will blame Blumberg… I blame people who could have called Hatzoloh!

  • 2. Just like Nero wrote:

    This a tragedy of colossal proportions. I’m guessing it was Brooklyn Ave the other side of EP. If it was down here, they would have probably thought to call Hatzalah & who knows? Maybe the baby could have been saved. I am horrified.

    This death is at the Mayor’s feet. Ultimately, he is the CEO of the city & he has to take responsibility. His arrogance & laissez-faire attitude allows these abuses by the unions to go on. He’s fiddling while we freeze. Of course, we can all go & watch a Broadway show.

  • 4. shocked at bloombergs stupidity wrote:

    This article should be sent to Bloomberg. He should be ashamed of himself. It is one thing when children can’t go to school, adults can’t go to work, but when death occurs because he is too cheap… he should be ashamed.

  • 6. lawyer wrote:

    bloomberg always said the buck stops by him well murder charges should be put forth

  • 7. so sad... wrote:

    I was honestly scared that if g-d forbid there were a fire or a bad accident it would take hours for help. Shame on you- Bloomberg! You are a fool!

  • 8. BLOOMBERG BASTERD!!! wrote:


  • 10. Raizee wrote:

    To #9…
    Does it MATTER if the baby was Jewish? The sad fact is that a precious baby died in our very neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what religion that baby was. The same love we’d have shown a Jewish mother in her grief we should show to this mother, who’s probably having an indescribable amount of sorrow and pain and needs lots of tefillos and kindness.

  • 11. So Sad wrote:

    Even not Jewish this story is heart-breakingly sad. My thoughts are with this poor ‘mom’ at this time. And if there is any way that we can force Bloomberg to resign I’ll be the FIRST to sign up for it!

  • 12. resident of CH wrote:

    THAT is a truly disgusting post!
    You should be ashamed of yourself!

    We are supposed to be a light (an example) unto the (goyish) nations)! They won’t be able to see any light if we’re busy smothering them with our pillows that have cases embroidered with, “We’re better than you because we’re Jewish!”

  • 13. anonymous wrote:

    whether the baby was jewish or not does not make a difference. A live was lost….

  • 14. Jewish or non-Jewish -- who CARES? wrote:

    Who the heck cares if the baby was Jewish or not? Your narrow-minded ghetto mentality makes us all look bad.

  • 15. Contact Bloomburg here wrote:

    You may contact me directly by writing, calling, faxing or e-mailing:

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
    City Hall
    New York, NY 10007
    PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)

    FAX (212) 312-0700


  • 16. Sad in Massachusetts wrote:

    Raizee, So Sad, anonymous, resident of CH, & Jewish or NonJewish..who CARES…………….you are all people I would love to have for neighbors here in MA. To the unkind posts, or those who choose to focus on the mayor rather than the little life lost, or the pain of the young mother…to you I can only say “shame” & take a good look at yourself in a mirror before you pray again & maybe pray for yourself to have a gentle/caring heart. What if it were your relative?

  • 17. oiss vorff wrote:

    the halacha is ..“ on shabbos if a goy needs to be transported to a hospital and only a yid is there , he has to take her to the hospital and drive back that was the pesack from reb zalmen shimon z”tzal said …so mr vddd u are dead wrong stupid fool

  • 18. Ticket Bloomberg wrote:

    We get tickets for not shoveling our sidewalks. The city should give Bloomberg a big ticket for not shoveling the streets. If something happens to an individual because we didn’t shovel our sidewalk, we get sued. Well, Bloomberg should be sued for the tradgedies that resulted from his not shoveling the streets. No double standard!

  • 19. condolences to the woman and her family wrote:

    may they never go through something like this again
    this could have happened to anyone

  • 20. hgkjhg wrote:

    A midwife could have been called… I also think they made too big of a deal that the cops cut the umbilical cord. There is no medical reason to cut the cord- it is a mere convenience.

  • 22. poor mom wrote:

    I understand wanting to know if a death was that of a Jew or not…within our community maybe it’s a friend/relative ch’v etc, and doing things for aliyas neshama etc comes into play…
    BUT I totally agree that whatever the religion is, does NOT take away from the tragedy, pain etc and the blood that the mayor has on his hands..
    this is just terrible..

  • 23. BLAMER wrote:

    TO NUMBER ONE. why the heck are you trying to blame others. The woman herself said she did not tell anyone. AND DON’T GIVE ME THAT CRAP ABOUT IT NOT BEING BLOOMBERG’S FAULT IT IS SOLELY HIS FAULT. I LIVE IN CROWN HEIGHTS AND ALL I’VE DONE THE LAST THREE DAYS WHILE LOCKED IN MY HOUSE IS WATCH THE CARS, TRUCKS, TOW TRUCKS, POLICE CARS AND AMBULANCES GETTING STUCK IN THE SNOW BECAUSE THIS NEIGHBORHOOD HAD NOT SEEN A SNOW PLOW SINCE THE MINUTE THE SNOW STARTED COMING DOWN. BLOOMBERG SHOULD BE HUNG! EVEN THOUGH HE’S CALLED JEWISH. HE IS A DISGRACE TO THE JEWISH RELIGION!!!! But mark my word if your meter expires bloomy’s puppets will be there in a flash to ticket your car. after all the city needs money! But the question begs to be asked, what for? It’s certainly not being used for emergencies such as this one!!!!!!

  • 24. bad sanitation dept wrote:

    why isnt the sanitaion department getting blamed, they did this to get back at the mayor bec he let go 400 employees!!!!! are we letting the unions rule???

  • 25. midwife wrote:

    to #19 how would the midwife get there? flying on her broom?? all jokes aside (& I’m a homebirther..) she’d havta walk to a train station…get on a train..hope for no delays..& climb her way thru snow to the mom…

  • 26. A Jew is Family wrote:

    To all the aggressive and virulent responders to #4. A Jew, by learning and in essence recognizes the value of life and cares about all human beings in a way that many people do not in this cold world, as has been proven time and again in situations that really count. And I suspect that you are well aware of that. However, a caring person is naturally even more anxious about their possible relatives, friends, acquaintances, and community members and will urgently want to know about their welfare. While there is freedom of speech, #4 and anyone else (even if you don’t recognize their right to take up space) is allowed to ask questions as much as you are.

  • 27. to #23 wrote:

    Nobody said it takes away from the pain. It’s just the nonsensical comments of people with their own agendas that make is sound like asking if the person is Jewish is a crime. Another symptom of the anti-semitism that has been creeping up on our beleaguered community. And no, it does not sound as if the person is Jewish. I hope that settles the question.

  • 29. JewsvoteforJews wrote:

    How many of you voted Bloomberg into office??? I’m just saying…“as ye sow, so shall ye reap”


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