Woman wins fight to make GPS mandatory in Massachusetts ambulances

Paulette Sadberry’s fight to make GPS mandatory in all ambulances is finally over… and she won.

“It’s not going to bring my brother back,” she says. “But implementing GPS in ambulances will help him rest in peace.”

Starting today, GPS will now be required equipment in all ambulances in Massachusetts.

State Representative David Linsky says it’s overdue. “It’s sad it took a tragedy to make this happen.  It’s just common sense that ambulances should have every tool to find out where they are going.”

As Paulette discovered, the ambulance company sent to rescue her brother didn’t have it. 

We first told you Paulette’s story back in March.  Her brother Don died from an asthma attack after Paulette says the ambulance sent to save him got lost.

“It still floors me,” she says, “that an ambulance got lost from four blocks away on a street that only has four houses on it!”

It all happened on February 3rd at about six in the evening.  The 58-year-old was on the phone with his girlfriend when he began gasping for air.

Boston EMS records show the call for help came in at 6:07pm.  An ambulance was dispatched at 6:09, and EMTs were at the location at 6:12. 

But they were at the wrong end of the street and not at Don’s house.

EMT’s didn’t find the right address until ten minutes later; at 6:22.  By then Don was in cardiac arrest.  He later died.

Paulette says there no way to describe how much she misses him. “I miss my brother like crazy,” she sighs.

Once she learned GPS wasn’t available on all ambulances, Paulette says she made it her mission to change that, and that she would not be backing down.

“I was in this for the long haul.  I wasn’t gonna stop until I made sure this wasn’t gonna happen again.”

We told State Representative David Linsky about what happened to Don and he pushed the state board that oversees licensing of ambulances to put GPS on the agenda.

Linsky is grateful.  “I really have to thank Paulette.  She really spurred government into work here, but this shows that the system can work.”

It did work.  Quickly.

“I want to thank Representative Linsky,” Paullete tells us.  “And I want to thank Cheryl Fiandaca and Channel 7 too, for pushing the envelope and getting the story told.”

The new regulation applies to all ambulances operated by cities and towns, as well as private ambulance companies.

They have 60 days from today to make sure there is a working GPS in every ambulance.

They are also now required to have actual paper street maps in each ambulance as well.