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7-Year-Old Drowns After 911 Operator Dials Wrong Number for Ambulance?!

Posted by on Jun. 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM
  • 8 Replies

7-Year-Old Drowns After 911 Operator Dials Wrong Number for Ambulance

by Ericka Sóuter 

swimming poolWhat should have been a fun day at the community pool turned into an unimaginable family tragedy. A 7-year-old girl was pulled from the bottom of a public pool in Missouri, but some say her death could have been prevented if it weren't for an inept 911 operator.

Reportedly, the 911 dispatcher handling the call about little Kaitlynn Breann Garcia bungled up quite badly. He did not know where the pool was located and wasted four minutes dialing wrong numbers for the emergency response team. The dispatcher was heard saying, "Yes. Is this Jay? Yea, I'm sorry. I've got the wrong number." Unbelievable.

The witness who made the frenzied call was horrified as the minutes slipped by and little Kaitlynn's life slipped away. As her pleas grew more frantic, the dispatcher replied, "I, I, I'm trying to get a hold of an ambulance as best -- trying to do the best, trying to do the best I can." Totally unacceptable. This person clearly should not have been allowed to man the phones if he was incapable of getting callers the help they need.

Though sadly, this is just the latest example of seemingly incompetent 911 operators. Earlier this month, there were reports that a dispatcher in Dallas, Texas was fired for making racist remarks on her Facebook page. She called black people "animals" and said they had "sh** for brains." She also ranted that they wasted her time calling 911. And just think, this is the attitude of the person you call when you are in desperate need of police or medical help.

Then there was the operator who took the call from kidnap victim Amanda Berry. This poor girl had been beaten, raped, and chained up in a house for 10 years and this guy allegedly cursed under his breath at her. He didn't even stay on the line with her as she waited for the cops to come to secure her safety from the monster who had tortured and imprisoned her.

It's shameful and frightening. More so than most other public service jobs, 911 dispatchers needs to be patient and compassionate. People don't call them when they are calm and rational. They are hearing people at their most horrified and desperate moments. Is it too much to ask that they be sympathetic and actually know how to get someone the help that they need? If they can't do the job, then they should be fired.

What do you think of these three 911 operators?

by on Jun. 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM
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Replies (1-8):
by Silver Member on Jun. 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Being a 911 operator takes a very special person in my opinion. Its like any other emergency worker or doctor/nurse. You need a strong desire for that job. People are calling 911 because they are desparate. They need the operator to be a calm, patient, rational person. In some cases, it could save the life of who's calling.

If these operators can't handle the demands of the job, I think they really need to consider another line of work. I understand the jobcan get frustrating especially when you do have people who use 911 as their personal doctoring service or calls for non emergency stuff. But you really have to put all that aside and deal with each individual is a respectful manner. If you can't, maybe you are either burned out for the jobor its the not the one for you.

by Anonymous 1 on Jun. 26, 2013 at 11:12 AM
What a shame, too bad there were not people around who knew CPR.
by Member on Jun. 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM

You would think that ambulance's number would be automatically in the system. 

by Anonymous 2 on Jun. 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM
My husband was a 911 operator for a couple years when he worked in another county...

It's interesting that that first dispatcher had to call the ambulance. The system my husband worked it, the dispatcher had communication to the ambulances through radio, same in this county (my husband works only on the ambulance now). The original call taker would transfer it to the EMS dispatchers, but if they had trouble, could stand up and shout across the room "hey dispatch an ambulance to..."

The second dispatcher... Well unfortunately people hate their jobs, or just plain hate some people that they interact with for their jobs... As long as the person was always professional and did their job correctly while at work, I don't really care what they have to say outside of work....
by Member on Jun. 26, 2013 at 11:05 PM

Omg! How terrible for the girls family. I can't imagine. I think they should let him call the ambulance! 

by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 1:31 AM

First call. I don't understand why the ambulance number was not in the system. It must have been a very antiquated system for him to have to call an ambulance. My bff's husband installs 911 systems around the countries and , as much as we would like to think they are every place, there are areas with very, very old and outdated systems. The community pool should have had a life guard on hand who knew CPR and how to care for the child before it reached this level.

The second...I don't care what she posts on her FB page. Dallas is a ROUGH city and she may have just been blowing off steam. I still believe in freedom of speech and as long as she did her job, I don't care what she says in her private life.

Third...Amanda call. I listened to the tape and did not hear any under the breath comments. Yes, he did not stay with her until the police arrived. He looked up her case and got appropriate help. Their police dept could not detect the alleged cussing and have sent the tape out for outside evaluation.  Honestly, he may have thought to himself, "Holy shit, I can't believe this chick is alive." He dispatched the police; asked her relevant questions; verified information; got the right authorities to her. People are not perfect, but I heard nothing for which he deserves national ridicule. 

This is an incredibly stressful job and it takes a very, very special person to do this for the little pay they get. 

by Silver Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM

Seems like they need a better system.

by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I thought they had TRAINED lifeguards at community pools? They did when I was a kid. I don't think it's quite fair to blame the child's death solely on the 911 operator. It could have been his first day.

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