<
>

Doomed runner was six blocks from hospital

10/24/2007

CHICAGO -- The ambulance crew who picked up a dying runner
during the Chicago Marathon apparently got lost on the way to a
hospital, authorities said.

Chad Schieber collapsed while running the Oct. 7 race, and was
about six blocks away from the University of Illinois at Chicago
Medical Center. An autopsy blamed his death on a heart condition
called mitral valve prolapse, though heart experts say the
condition is rarely dangerous.

Schieber, 35, was picked up from the marathon route by an
ambulance from Niles, one of 30 suburban crews called to help when
hundreds of runners were stricken by that day's hot weather.

The crew radioed Chicago dispatchers Schieber was in full
cardiac arrest and said they planned to take him to the UIC Medical
Center, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said this
week.

The ambulance crew drove a couple blocks in the wrong direction,
then flagged down a city ambulance and got instructions, said Niles
Fire Chief Barry Mueller. But then they drove past the UIC Medical
Center because they couldn't find the emergency room entrance.

They ended up delivering Schieber to the West Side Veterans
Administration Hospital a few blocks away. The hospital is not part
of Chicago's emergency response network but has a fully working
emergency room, officials said.

Langford and Mueller could not say how long it took to take
Schieber, a police officer from Midland, Mich., to the hospital or
whether it would have helped Schieber if he had arrived sooner.

Krystn Madrine, Schieber's sister-in-law, said the family is
waiting for more information.

"We want to see what happens," Madrine told The Associated
Press on Wednesday. "We hope that something good will come of
Chicago's discovering that they did not do a very good job."

Marathon officials declined to comment Wednesday.

The lost ambulance was first reported Monday by WBBM-TV, which
also said emergency dispatchers didn't have maps of marathon road
closures. Dispatchers could be heard shouting over radios "We need
maps! We have no maps down here," WBBM reported.

Mueller said the crew had asked dispatchers for directions but
got no response.

"That's not unusual; the airwaves could be jammed," Mueller
said.