911 Dispatch Under Investigation; Dallas Man Lay 2 Blocks from Station for 17 Minutes


 
 

Donna Fielder | | Friday, May 2, 2008


DENTON, Texas -- Denton (Texas) Police Chief Roy Minter has initiated an internal investigation after learning that a man lay unconscious for 17 minutes in the street two blocks from the Police Department waiting for help before it arrived April 20.

And local civil rights activist Willie Hudspeth, who made two 911 calls trying to get help for the man, says he believes the delay is typical of the emergency response to Southeast Denton.

"The response time for our area is different," Mr. Hudspeth said. "We're just sitting there on our side of town believing the response time is very slow. But I don't know that for a fact."

Chief Minter said human error is to blame.

"I'll be the first to admit that, based on the initial investigation, we did not handle this call correctly," Chief Minter said. "I don't think this has anything to do with location."

Mr. Hudspeth said he was walking for exercise about 5:45 a.m. that Sunday when he noticed a man who appeared to be unconscious and not breathing. He called 911.

The call-taker said she would have an officer come by.

Mr. Hudspeth waited. No one came. He called 911 again.

"He was unconscious, and his breathing slowed to nothing. I called back the second time and asked, "'Why haven't you sent someone?' She said, 'OK, I'll get right on it.' I asked what happened, and she didn't answer me," Mr. Hudspeth said.

An officer and paramedics arrived and determined the man was heavily intoxicated, according to an arrest warrant for the man.

"It could have been something else," Chief Minter said. "Someone could have died. The fact that we allowed someone to lie in the street for 17 minutes before we initiated a response is disappointing and totally unacceptable."

His initial investigation shows that the call-taker at first misjudged the situation, he said.

The call-taker coded the call a "priority 2," which means an officer should check on the situation when there is time. The call should have been coded a "priority 1" call, which requires immediate response.

Even with the priority 2 code, the dispatcher did not send an officer.

Chief Minter expects the investigation to be finished by Tuesday. If the investigation finds that it is needed, disciplinary action could include days off without pay or even termination. He did not release the name of the call-taker.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Communications and Dispatch

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Baltimore Man Rescued from Building Collapse

Rowhouse collapse traps a worker in the basement area.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

A Night with Wisconsin’s Busiest Medic Unit

Ride along one night with the paramedics of MED 5.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Patient Dies in West Virginia Ambulance Rollover

Marion County Rescue Squad crew is injured in collision.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Rescue Volunteers in Syria

White Helmets group at work during fighting.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Boulder Pins Colorado Hiker

Wilderness EMS team frees trapped hiker.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

North Dakota Oilfield Medics

Tactics used in offshore platforms tailored to the remote areas.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >