Mich. family sues after 911 call about heart attack goes unanswered

Stephen Greene’s family is suing after two dispatchers turned down the volume and missed 13 emergency calls made by rehabilitation staff members

By EMS1 Staff

CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The family of a man who died after suffering a heart attack is suing for millions after 911 calls for help went unanswered.

CNN reported that Stephen Greene had a heart attack at a rehabilitation center where he was recovering from other health issues last March, and staff members called 911.

However, a lawsuit filed said they called 911 for help 13 times before they got an answer, and Canton Township officials said an investigation found that two dispatchers turned down the volume on the telephone speaker and missed the calls.

Greene was eventually transported to the hospital, where he died the next day. His family claims the delay in transport caused his death and are seeking $25 million.

"These emergency operators unbelievably and alarmingly decided to turn off the 911 dispatch phone so that they did not have to do the job they had sworn and gotten paid to do; one dispatcher stating she did so because she was having a bad day," the lawsuit reads. "Her day was not as bad as one of these endangered citizens, Mr. Stephen Greene, who went into emergent cardiac arrest and relied on 911 emergency services to save his life."

A physician who reviewed Green’s case said he would have survived the heart attack if the first 911 call had been answered, according to the family’s lawyer, Jonathan Marko.

"The physician determined that his death was entirely preventable and was a direct result of the actions of the Canton 911 operators who failed to do their jobs," Marko said.

Canton Corporate Counsel Kristin Kolb said the missed 911 calls were reported to a supervisor and that an investigation was immediately launched into the incident, resulting in the suspension of the dispatchers.

"The actions of the responsible named former employees are inconsistent with the training, policies and practices of the Canton Department of Public Safety," Kolb said in a statement. "Additionally, corrective measures have been put in place, and further measures continue to be evaluated by the department to prevent an incident such as this from occurring again."

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