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Home > Topics > Pediatric Care

Mo. man drives son to hospital after confusion over 911 call

Because the dispatcher insisted on an address, the father wasn’t sure if an ambulance was coming; he left by the time one arrived

By EMS1 Staff

RICHMOND, Mo. — A father drove his 1-year-old son who stopped breathing to the hospital after confusion during a 911 call over whether an ambulance was actually on its way.

The father, Brice Wibberg performed CPR while his wife called 911 and gave the dispatcher an intersection as the location of the incident, WCTV5 reports. 

“He kept going on about having to have an address,” Wibberg said. He was bailing hay on someone else’s property when his wife came running over with their son, who had suddenly stopped breathing.

“Eyes rolled back in his head,” Wibberg said. “She comes running down the field on the phone with 911, and they’re giving her a hard time about finding where she is at.”


Because of the dispatcher’s insistence on an actual address, Wibberg worried one was not coming and drove his son to the hospital himself.

Two ambulances, a fire truck and a helicopter were dispatched within 30 seconds as the location was determined. The first ambulance arrived in six minutes, but Wibberg had already left.

Doctors say they don’t know why the baby stopped breathing. He is recovering at home. 

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Robert Gift Robert Gift Tuesday, July 08, 2014 4:38:02 PM Had just installed telephones in my very alcoholic 70-year-old friend's house so one would be nearby if he fell. He had been lying in his sofa for two days! While I was helping him out of his bathroom, he had cardiac arrest in my arms. I started CPR and called 9-1-1 from the new nearby telephone. They DID NOT KNOW his address! Neither did I. (I always parked in the back.) I went out front to look on his house, expecting to find four numbers lying on the ground. They were on the wall but ready to fall. Pronounced on scene. I think he died from deep vein thrombosis.
Connie Teeters Connie Teeters Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:13:03 PM I thought the dispatch always reassured you that help was on the way. Yes, they should have gave the parents exact instructions on what to do and let them know how far off help was.
Jared Sartin Jared Sartin Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:21:47 PM This happened in my county, and I was listening to the radio traffic. The dispatcher had two ambulances, a fire rescue truck, and lifeflight en route like the article said. The dispatcher also tried describing the exact area in the hay field to responding personnel, however, they were asking for a more exact address, to put into their GPS, as the area where the intersection is, is nothing but farmland, and would have been hard to locate if they (parents) would have stayed on scene. The fact of the matter is, the father took things into his own hands, and could have caused more damage than good. If the wife came running over to the field from home, wouldn't she have known the address?
Christopher M Burkhardt Christopher M Burkhardt Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:35:50 PM Listen to the story, the wife had came with food, and you should even know that a house address does not mean squat in rural areas where the house could be 1/2 mile from the incident. I have seen some farms that span a couple miles with only a single house address for the farm
Thom Swan Thom Swan Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:35:51 PM Hey, if the guy isn't certain that help is on the way I can't fault him for taking matters into his own hands. It's what farm-folk do. Seriously, city people tend to perceive emergency services agencies as their first line of defense, while those of us who live far from help tent to perceive them as our "Plan-B". So yeah, the dispatcher "should" have assured him help was on the way, but in the overall scheme of world, with responding units yammering in her ear demanding a more precise address, it's hard for me to fault him for the oversight. Stuff happens in dispatch centers, just like it does out on the streets.
Angel Helene Cooper Angel Helene Cooper Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:36:50 PM There are times there is NO exact address to give, cell phone call on the side of a road, in a park, at the beach etc, you have to give landmarks - i get they need the most accurate info BUT the dispatcher should ABSOLUTELY have assured them that the ambulance IS en route to their location and then tried to pinpoint as they went along
Heather Masche Heather Masche Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:37:22 PM People react differently understand. IF you watch the video, you will see that the woman was bringing her husband dinner and he was working a neighbor's farm. Even though they sent lots of help, the father did not know this because the dispatcher was not reassuring. That is part of his job.
Heather Masche Heather Masche Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:37:51 PM F you watch the video, you will see that the woman was bringing her husband dinner and he was working a neighbor's farm. Even though they sent lots of help, the father did not know this because the dispatcher was not reassuring. That is part of his job.
Pamela Erford Pamela Erford Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:39:46 PM Thank you Thank you!! First things first. If you can't get there you can't help. Plain and simple. If they didn't know an exact location how was someone else supposed to figure it out with a hysterical parent trying to explain (and rightfully so). To have arrived in 6 minutes is excellent time. I feel sorry for the parents, but they did take matters in their own hands. And thankfully the child is going to be ok.
Lee O'Dell Lee O'Dell Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:49:37 PM Heather Wilson : did the father honestly think after he knew 911 was called that nobody was coming.........Honestly how many times has an ambulance been called and nobody responded around here. I can tell you its 0 TIMES
Connie Wheeler-Buckallew Connie Wheeler-Buckallew Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:29:06 PM I've worked ems and I've dispatched things like this happen mostly from poor training bottom line child is alive and well..In rural areas there are no addresses it's rural routes but city people are not familiar with this ..
Sue Alexander Sue Alexander Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:39:36 PM I used to spend two weeks every winter camping remotely; ski in/ski out. One year I dislocated my patella. After six days and the swelling wasn't down, and I was running out of food, I ditched half my gear, stripped down the toboggan and dragged myself the 2 km to the ski doo trail. Plan B. It is always important to have a plan B. Or you freeze and die. I am not partial to that option.
Brent Shelton Brent Shelton Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:50:21 PM Larry Thompson, what have you heard about this? I could see this happening there in Ray County, knowing what I know about dispatch there.
Daniel Styers Daniel Styers Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:56:38 PM I'm assuming the call was placed from a cell phone given the remote location. Unless it was a very old one or there were lots of obstructions around, the latter of which I feel is unlikely due to it being a field, the GPS coordinates should have been transmitted to dispatch during the call. However, being a rural area, their CAD system might not have supported this functionality or the user may have turned location services off in their options. Maybe some things to think about?
Angela Altman Schaumburg Angela Altman Schaumburg Tuesday, July 08, 2014 9:04:59 PM They should of been coaching the family thru cpr u til help arrived nor cleared the line until they were found. If this would of been done I think the situation would of went different. I've been dispatched to 2 cross road and had someone waiting to guide us where to go. ....accident calls where it approx 1 mile south of hwy whatever......bottom line is the dispatcher should of tried to calm the family and assure them help is coming and have them on the line to help guide ems there
Angela Altman Schaumburg Angela Altman Schaumburg Tuesday, July 08, 2014 9:10:05 PM Why did t the dispatcher stay o the line till help arrived? Stay on the line and keep the family calm and on track with cpr?! Reassure the family ambulances etc are en route? I guess we can speculate but we weren't there
Robert Slack Robert Slack Tuesday, July 08, 2014 9:57:23 PM I can feel their pain , I had a hay baler catch on fire one time in the middle of a hay field . called it in and the dispatcher was more concerned with who was in the vehicle . i told her again it was a hay baler !! what is your address? i dont have one ! i gave her 2 road numbers !! look for the smoke !!! " well she said , can you go meet the fire truck ? " good grief !! by the time i heard the sirens the baler was toast and the field was burning !! why do they go though so many questions when every instance is different ???? i can only imagine if it was a life on the line .
Scott Foresman Scott Foresman Tuesday, July 08, 2014 10:02:16 PM Never had a problem finding an intersection in MY area! Know your territory.
Billie Walker Glazier Billie Walker Glazier Tuesday, July 08, 2014 10:26:34 PM Lee O'Dell I called an ambulance to my home, gave the exact address, and 45 minutes later, I drove my child to the ER following a blow to the head from a baseball bat. That was the day I decided to go to EMT school. As a retired Paramedic instructor, ACLS instructor, and PALS instructor, I have reviewed many calls where the dispatchers have dropped the "communication ball" and parents felt the need to take matters into their own hands.
Lee O'Dell Lee O'Dell Tuesday, July 08, 2014 10:41:37 PM I'm taking about in our area where this happened. Every call for ambulance gets one.
Billie Walker Glazier Billie Walker Glazier Tuesday, July 08, 2014 10:49:11 PM Lee O'Dell... But, that father is not part of "every call." He father was part of that ONE call and he felt no sense of security that help was on the way. You may be aware of EMS response statistics in your area, and you may have every bit of confidence in them, but you are not "that" father and he is not you. If I feel there is a hint of a problem, be it a communication break down or lack of skill, I am not waiting for the errors to work out, I am getting my child to definitive care. I understand that a person has a better chance, in many cases, by waiting on scene, but I also understand that to be dependent on the guarantee that help is not delayed.
David Newton David Newton Tuesday, July 08, 2014 11:00:32 PM Yes, tell them help as coming.
David Newton David Newton Tuesday, July 08, 2014 11:05:12 PM Dispatch should tell them to turn GPS on, on their cell phone to find themselves and pull up the address.
Mark Sowder Mark Sowder Wednesday, July 09, 2014 4:18:22 AM A site that is dedicated to the world of emergency services should have done a little research instead of reposting the inaccurate account of the local media. The problem with a story like this is that the few people who know exactly what happened as fact are the very people who can't comment on what actually happened. So uninformed individuals with no actual information whatsoever are able to comment unchallenged. It is sad that the emergency services community is so cannibalistic.
Connie Sue Sowder Connie Sue Sowder Wednesday, July 09, 2014 6:34:15 AM oh good grief! The insanity continues! Why can't people check the facts before they report crap!
Chris Van Hoesen-Willis Chris Van Hoesen-Willis Wednesday, July 09, 2014 7:43:51 AM Bottom line here is, the dispatcher dropped the ball by not reassuring the family that an ambulance was on the way. This situation could of been handled differently. As one who was a paramedic in rural suburban and rural areas, you can find your location.
Bekah Beach Bekah Beach Wednesday, July 09, 2014 7:50:05 AM This is a great example of a poor undertrained dispatcher
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Wednesday, July 09, 2014 7:51:50 AM Lee O'Dell Watch the news lately especially in Washington DC? If the dispatcher does not say they have seen the ambulance and keeps harping about the address, that is a failure on EMS' part and not the parents.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Wednesday, July 09, 2014 7:56:28 AM Lee O'Dell Lucky you. Not like that everywhere. Read the news much?
Justin Pittman Justin Pittman Wednesday, July 09, 2014 2:20:59 PM I know they can zero in on your location using your cell phone so why was this not used? Never I repeat Never dial 911! Always be prepared and do like this guy did and take matters into your own hands!
Billie Crossman Billie Crossman Wednesday, July 09, 2014 4:32:37 PM Yeah, that's Ray county for the book. . There was a fire in a field near the farm, and I had to give them our address and tell them three times it's in the field to our north east, in the trees.
Evelyn Salinas Evelyn Salinas Wednesday, July 16, 2014 9:58:44 PM People of the world 911 system does not, I repeat, DOES NOT provide dispatcher your exact location...unless you are calling from a landlin!!!!!

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