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Sex Game ‘Foreplay’ Found in Ambulance Computer

October 23, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ A sex-oriented game is in the computer that monitors city ambulances, but an official on Monday dismissed speculation that the game could distract dispatchers or lead to computer problems.

John Petrofsky, a computer consultant for the Emergency Medical Services, said in Monday’s editions of the New York Post that the game ″Foreplay″ had been in the EMS system since September 1988.

The program could slow the computer or stop it for 30 minutes, Petrofsky said. It also might carry a computer ″virus″ that could shut down the computer for two days, he said.

EMS spokeswoman Lynn Schulman said the inspector general of the Health and Hospitals Corp. had confirmed that the game was in the system, but she said it had no effect on response time, which has been reduced in recent months.

It was not clear who entered the game into the system, or whether dispatchers or those who receive emergency calls even had access to it, she said. Investigators were searching the master computer Monday, she said.

″As soon as we find anything inappropriate, like this game or anything else, it will be taken out of the computer,″ she said. ″When we find who’s responsible, they’ll be dealt with appropriately.″

Petrofsky told the Post at least 35 employees could gain access to the game at one time, but the story did not say which employees.

″To make the implication that (dispatchers and call receivers) don’t do their work is ludicrous and unfair to them,″ Schulman said.

″These are very hard-working and dedicated individuals who are very insulted that someone would make allegations that they were playing games when they’re supposed to be dispatching ambulances.″

The game involves the seduction of a woman, with players choosing various tactics to gain ″arousal points,″ the Post said. The wrong move can get a player kicked out of the woman’s apartment.

Petrofsky told the Post he was fired last week after warning superiors over the past eight months of threats posed by the game.

Schulman declined to comment on his dismissal, except to say there were many protections for such whistle-blowers and that EMS ″encourages him to use the number of appeal procedures available.″

Petrofsky said he told his boss, Norman Hunter, about the game on March 23, but Hunter told the Post he did not remember discussing such a game. Hunter said he did not know why Petrofsky was fired, and said to ask EMS deputy executive director Joanne Margusee, who is on vacation.

Petrofsky produced records that showed the game was entered into the system on Sept. 19, 1988, and revised twice since then.

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