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GWB Lane Closures Slowed Medical Help to Dying Woman, 91

Fort Lee resident died of cardiac arrest after paramedics had to meet ambulance en route to the hospital instead of at the scene.

The controversial George Washington Bridge lane closures delayed the response of medical personnel to four incidents, including reaching a 91-year-old unconscious woman who later died.

Response times doubled for at least two of the four instances on Sept. 9 and 10—the first two days of the unannounced lane closures—in Fort Lee, according to a letter from EMS Coordinator Paul Favia to Mayor Mayor Mark Sokolich that was obtained by The Record.

In one instance, it took EMS seven minutes to reach an elderly Fort Lee woman who was unconscious and later died at the hospital of cardiac arrest, the article said.

Favia did not say the woman's death was directly caused by the lane closures, but noted "paramedics were delayed due to heavy traffic on Fort Lee Road and had to meet the ambulance en-route to the hospital instead of on the scene," according to The Record.

Messages released Wednesday show top officials close to Gov. Chris Christie were involved with the lane closures that some have suggested were payback for the Fort Lee mayor crossing the New Jersey governor during his bid for re-election.

Christie responded late Wednesday afternoon by saying, "I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge."

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