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Home > Topics > Disaster

Distracted dispatcher sends medics to wrong address; man dies waiting

A 911 dispatcher faces a three-day suspension after she was distracted by her personal cellphone and failed to supervise a trainee

Click Orlando

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A 911 dispatcher faces a three-day suspension after she was distracted by her personal cellphone — causing the person she was training to send paramedics to the wrong address. The victim, who was suffering from a heart attack, died while waiting for the paramedics.

Bob Hill, 58, died of a heart attack on Sept. 4 on a racquetball court while playing handball with friends. Fifteen minutes passed before ambulances arrived from Volusia County, because they were sent to the wrong recreational center.

"No one answered the door when we tried to reach Certified Training Officer Shauna Justice, but she admitted her mistake," said Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson. "We messed up. She was very remorseful about what happened, very caring about it. She admitted to what her mistake was."

Full story: Man dies while waiting for misguided paramedics

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Jason Bokow Jason Bokow Wednesday, November 13, 2013 7:06:19 PM it was her fault but thank god she wasnt fired...fact is we all make mistakes...this one ended horribly but these things happen...only thing i can say is when u work in a job like our u should not be allowed to answer personal phones until on break or off shift. and for anyone about to chastise this lady....i see police on thier personal phones making calls all day (im sure that affects service) and its sad but ive seen medics in my area answer their cells while in the back of my truck and have a personal conversation while dealing with a pt .....fact is when u turn the radio on the cell phone should be off unless u need to contact control or medcom thats it ...when the calls over, be on the phone all u want be we are in a service job....only problem is when we get distracted on purpose or otherwise...people die.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:35:52 AM Pointing a gun at people who are not threatening you with bodily harm is not a smart thing either. She might get an extra day off for that or maybe not. After all this is Volusia county.
Leslie Arlene Leslie Arlene Thursday, November 14, 2013 3:37:15 PM She's now in jail because when the media went to get her side of the story she pulled a gun. So instead of a 3 days suspension she's now terminated!
Sarah Zed Sarah Zed Thursday, November 14, 2013 4:31:20 PM With all due respect she SHOULD be fired. She has one job. Dispatching. Worse even she is a "trainer" so you'd think she would know better. A man DIED directly because of her actions. You cannot compare a police officer on his/her phone while out on the road and a dispatcher.
Cassie Witek Cassie Witek Thursday, November 14, 2013 4:56:22 PM We all make mistakes.. Uh yea I mistakenly put baking soda instead of baking powder- this is redicilous and incompetent! She should be fired and slapped with a wrongful death suit to follow. I do not follow .."oh mistakes happen".. "Were all people, we all make mistakes..", there are no room for mistakes, in this line of work people die when we all make mistakes.
Robert O'Connor Robert O'Connor Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:05:24 PM Three-day suspension for gross negligence leading to involuntary manslaughter.... not a bad gig
Amber King Amber King Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:30:40 PM A 3-Day suspension?! Are you serious? A man DIED. Mistake my rear! Calling it a mistake is the understatement of the century.
Jason Bokow Jason Bokow Thursday, November 14, 2013 7:28:18 PM Sarah Zed how can I not?!? both in public service ...both involved in life or death situations. maybe they dont post them here but if u look there are hundreds of incidents where police have seriously injured / killed people because they were on their phones on the way to a call, not paying complete attention of course. but u want a dispatcher fired because someone died . what about police and all. fact is u cant segregate responsibility. she made a mistake albeit a horrible one.. but u cant hold one person to a higher standard and ignore the rest. and police have one job ...ems has one ...and fire has one ....what u seem to be forgetting is that we all although seperate are integral to each of our services including dispatch...a pay cut and a suspension will do ...im sorry for the family but mistakes were made and i can almost guarantee it wont happen again. but from what im getting from u is if anyone in her area involved in emergency services gets caught on a cell phone they should be fired???
Sarah Zed Sarah Zed Friday, November 15, 2013 7:25:47 AM Jason Bokow If a police officer is running lights and siren to an emergency call, takes their hands off the wheel to text or make a call with their cell phone and those actions result in someone's death....then yes....you can compare the two.
Leslie Arlene Leslie Arlene Friday, November 15, 2013 8:51:32 AM Mario Torralva http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florida/volusia-county/woman-arrested-after-pointing-gun-at-wesh-2s-claire-metz/-/12983450/22935912/-/243vcxz/-/index.html
Leslie Arlene Leslie Arlene Friday, November 15, 2013 8:52:17 AM here is the article about her pulling a gun on the local media!!! sorry it wont hyperlink so your gonna have to copy and paste! http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florida/volusia-county/woman-arrested-after-pointing-gun-at-wesh-2s-claire-metz/-/12983450/22935912/-/243vcxz/-/index.html
Friday, November 15, 2013 11:56:59 AM She deserved to be in jail in the first place. I have done both sides and know that dispatching is not as easy as field people think it is, but it is not as stressful as some dispatchers make it out to be. The advancements in CAD programs and pre-arrival medical instruction software has made the job easier. It all comes down to laziness and lack of work ethic. They want instant everything, so if that was the first address that popped up, grab it and send it. Don't bother asking enough questions to get all of the information needed not just to the correct location, but the exact situation. They want to brag about how fast they get calls out, but if they would take a few extra seconds to confirm an address, find out when they started having stroke symptoms or if there is someone entrapped, it would make the responders job so much easier. God forbid we don't have all the information that they want when we ask for additional resources. The door swings both ways. She did not do her job and an man is dead because of it. Plain and simple. Three days off? What a joke.
Andrew Morse Andrew Morse Saturday, November 16, 2013 11:17:42 PM Calm down people, in a lot of places the response time for an ambulance can be greater than 15 minutes, I was the only EMT on the scene of incidents in my town, one of them waiting for an abulance for about 25 minutes for a head trauma with syncope that required a med-flight to a trauma center. 15 minutes isn't that long to wait, most likely the guy would have died no matter what (RIP). But the pulling the gun on the media thing is just plain stupid.
Andrew Morse Andrew Morse Monday, November 18, 2013 6:53:05 PM Sarah Zed listen, the video clearly shows that it wasn't even her handling the call. Any idiot can give an address to responders, but for some reason your not considering that it was the trainee who messed up. Don't think of the trainee as a new person, if the trainee got the job it was after going to school extensively and getting certified to do that job in the first place. In order to see how he will handle it on his own, she let him handle the call. The blame should be placed mostly on the trainee for not giving the cross address, he however did give the name of the building where ems needed to go. The blame should also be on the ambulance driver for not knowing where the building was and needing an address in the first place. Then we put some blame on the trainer who also didn't take the call over and correct it, lets be honest, she barely touches her phone, the video thats public doesn't show her doing anything other than touching her phone possibly to see what time it was. Let's also remember that the trainee had to give CPR directions over the phone, only reason to do that is if the patient was not breathing, had no pulse, and was unresponsive. Which supports my theory that he could not have been saved no matter what, so your theory that she caused the death of the man is so so so so wrong.
Jason Bokow Jason Bokow Monday, November 18, 2013 6:54:34 PM Sarah Zed no im talking flying down the highway yapping away NOT on a call nothing against leos but lets be honest ....
Wayland Slater Wayland Slater Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:28:19 PM I do agree with Andrew Moore's post that the delay in time due to the wrong address is not the immediate issue. It's the fact that such an incident happened at all. Unfortunately it involved a worse case scenario and not something not life threatening. But whatever the call this mistake can not be over looked. This is another incident that just supports my argument that personal cell phones should not be turned on or not allowed to be used in certain jobs. A dispatcher is an excellent example. It's true that I am not a fan of cell phones. I use to leave the house to get away from the phone. But now society almost dictates that you have to have one. So, I've got one. But it's a "dumb phone". Don't text, no key board, no blue tooth. Just phone calls and the most advanced feature I've used is a few pics, less than 10.

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