How one NYC ambulance company is busting language barriers

A private ambulance company in New York City has started providing emergency medical care to the city's growing population of Chinese immigrants.

Alonzo Rapisarda runs Midwood Ambulance. One of the company's main service areas is the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn. Over the years, ambulance crews found they were unable to effectively communicate with patients because they didn't speak the same language. Historically Jewish and Italian, the area is now largely Chinese, according to The New York Times.

To address the language barrier, Mr. Rapisarda started hiring Chinese-speaking dispatchers several years ago. In April, the company began offering a new service: ambulances with Chinese-speaking healthcare workers.

The company has three ambulances that provide Chinese language emergency medical care, and they have already responded to calls beyond Brooklyn. The response has been so positive that Mr. Rapisarda has ordered three more ambulances and is hiring more Chinese-speaking workers.

The ambulance company has also teamed up with the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn to help spread the word about the service.

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