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Advice needed about poor 911 service...

(OK, it's a bit of a vent, too!)

20 month old DS was having the time of his life tonight, running around balancing different toys on his head. Well, it was fun until he tripped and hit his face on our TV stand and drove three of his teeth through his lip and out a second hole in his chin. Blood sprayed absolutely everywhere.

DH got us a washcloth to wipe up the blood then immediately called the hospital emergency room, but it was 8:30 p.m., so the after-hours recording said to call 911 before we came over. (It's a steep mountain pass with icy roads).

As I loaded the little guy in the car, I listened as DH spoke to the 911 operator. He clearly told her that the ER wasn't answering their phone, and he asked her to call ahead and let her know we were coming with our DS who had some holes in his face. She asked if we were self-transporting, and he said we were. She asked if we had a cell phone to get in contact with us on the road, and he responded that we only had a land-line. So she said to phone 911 back once we got to the hospital--a 20 minute ride away.

We drove over, and to my horror they were not prepared for us, as the 911 operator hadn't bothered to phone them to let them know we were coming. DS was completely calm, despite his pain, but still we had to wait nearly an hour for the doctor on call to be phoned in from his home.

I was livid! 911 is a service that we pay for as taxpayers! How can they be so forgetful? I can guarantee in our small community that they receive less than 10 calls per night on a busy night! To let even a minor emergency fall through the cracks in unacceptable!

So when I got home (thankfully, no stitches and no pain medicine) I phoned up the 911 operator and had a little chat with her. (Like I said, it's a small community!) She was perky and friendly and happy that nothing went wrong at the hospital. I told her that she was missing the point. We'd relied on her to phone ahead to prepare the hospital for our arrival, and since she'd failed to do that simple task we had a lengthy wait for the doctor on call. She tried to say that my husband said that HE would phone the ER, so I told her to listen to his original 911 call and see if she had the same opinion after she heard it again... Then I said that I wanted to speak to her supervisor tomorrow. She was just a perky and friendly when she welcomed me to call back and speak to any deputy or the sheriff.

GRRRR! Why would we call 911 and tell them not to bother calling the ER, as we'll do it ourself? It makes me think that if she can't even handle the small task of calling ahead, then she'd be equally completely worthless in a true life-death emergency... :(

Give me some advice, ladies!

Should I contact our County Human Resources and ask to file a formal complaint about her performance? Or should I just let it go and hope she doesn't answer any future life-death calls from my friends and family?

Answer Question

Asked by GoodyBrook at 2:41 AM on Dec. 10, 2012 in Health

Level 24 (20,116 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Don't let it go. Next time she might get a call where she really has to think or act fast, with disastrous results. I would call back and speak to the sheriff, and also your county HR department. I'm glad your son is okay.

    Answer by Ballad at 2:46 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • Definitely file a formal complaint

    " immediately called the hospital emergency room, but it was 8:30 p.m., so the after-hours recording said to call 911 before we came over"
    you had already called the ER and been told to call 911. Nothing else to discuss. No room for interpretation. Doesn't matter how many calls a night they get. You followed procedure, she didn't.

    Answer by feralxat at 2:50 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • Thats a slippery slope OP....The best advice I can give is to have a talk with the supervisor. They may have certain protocols they have to follow. Your son's wasn't considered a life or death emergency. If it truly was, there probably was a doctor already there for trauma cases. I am glad your LO is doing good though.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 2:55 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • i would call and talk to a supervisor. next time she handles a call bad it could be something more serious. i am glad that your son turned out to be ok btw.

    Answer by MooNFaeRie30 at 5:58 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • I agree with MM. There are protocols they have to follow. I would speak to a supervisor and ask why they did not call. Living in a small town doesn't mean they do not get a lot of calls. You would be surprised how many calls they get and what type of calls they are. Here if it was a emergency they would dispatch an ambulance and paramedics. I don't think they would call ahead for minor emergencies.

    Glad your little one is OK.

    Answer by DJDNY at 7:08 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • I agree with DJDNY & MM. They go by priority of severity of the incident probably & had other more threatening issues at hand. I would just write a letter to the Supervisor expressing your concern for possible future events.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 8:09 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • Glad your LO was okay! But I really dont agree with you calling 911 just to have a little chat with her. What if an emergency really came in and she was to busy having you bicker at her?

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 9:14 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • Call and talk to the supervisor. She may have been following P&P's. I know we all get more defensive when it's our children that are hurt and you wouldn't want another parent to go through the same. Be calm when you discuss it and ask questions if you have them and let them know what bothered you most. Your suggestions may help them change or tweak some procedures, but not likely if you are still made and upset.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:37 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • Talk to her supervisor if you feel you must, but don't just go gunning for her job without knowing anything other than your own side. Small town or not, you have no idea what kind of traffic they had going on at that time. Yes, it may still be an oversight, but she may have been slammed with actual emergencies. Dont't assume she was lazing around.

    Also, you don't know their policies and procedures. Here, we wouldn't call ahead for you. We are removed from the situation and wouldn't want to be held responsible for crap information passed to the ER. We only call ahead for paramedics and emts, since they are there and can give us reliable information to relay.

    Answer by DusterMommy at 10:29 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • hmmm, I agree with several that you need to find out what their actual rules are! I have never heard of an emergency room not having a doctor on staff! What if someone had been having a heartattack? Would it still have taken doctor an hour to get there? Just seems a bit odd to me

    Answer by luvmygrandbaby at 11:20 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

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