Investigation launched into why it took two 911 calls to dispatch ambulance

County officials are investigating why an ambulance was dispatched for the second 911 call and not the first

This article has been modified in order to clarify the role of Wake EMS in the incident. Officials are investigating why an ambulance wasn't dispatched during the first 911 call. 

By EMS1 Staff

RALEIGH, N.C. — A 911 dispatcher is gone and county officials are investigating why it took two 911 calls to dispatch an ambulance to a cardiac call.

WRAL reported that James Pasternak was driving his father-in-law, Steven Tibbetts, 63, to a local hospital after Tibbets had complained of chest pain and weakness in his legs.

When Tibbets' condition became worse, Pasternak pulled into a local Chevy dealership. Pasternak said he called 911 from his car at 7:57 a.m. He added he was on the phone with a dispatcher until 8:14 a.m.

City of Raleigh officials confirmed the Raleigh-Wake 911 center received a call at 7:57:50 a.m. 

As a dealership customer and employee performed CPR on Tibbets, another employee noticed the medical emergency and out of instinct called 911 -- that was sometime between 8:08 and 8:10 a.m.

Officials are unsure and are investigating why it was the second 911 call that led to an ambulance being dispatched. Four minutes after the second 911 call, Wake County EMS arrived at the dealership.

Tibbets was transported to a local hospital and was pronounced dead. 

Wake EMS Assistant Chief Jeff Hammerstein said cardiac calls are prioritized and their protocol is to respond as soon as they are dispatched.

“That's the highest, most critical level. That certainly gets a lights-and-sirens response. It includes a fire department first responder. It also includes multiple resources from EMS to work with that issue," Hammerstein said. “When we receive the call, we acknowledge it by entering on that computer which marks the time we're en route, we mark that time again when we arrive to make the time we're arriving.”

An investigation has been launched into why the first 911 call didn't result in an immediate ambulance dispatch and why it took a second 911 call to get an ambulance dispatched to the scene of the emergency.

City officials said an emergency communications tech recruit left his job four days after the incident.


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