911 dispatcher: ‘We’re short on medics’

A unit was never sent after a man passed out at an Indiana gym

GARY, Ind. — A 911 dispatcher has been disciplined after telling a caller there were not enough emergency responders available and it was “going to be a minute.”

The incident occurred when Clement Ervin passed out at the Hudson-Campbell Fitness Center and his friend called 911, ABC7 reports. 

Dispatcher: “Okay, we’re kind of short on medics so it’s going to be a minute.”

Caller: “You said who?”

Dispatcher: “We don’t have any medics and it’s going to be a minute.”

Caller: “Okay, let me take him to the hospital.”

The Lake County 911 dispatcher offered no further assistance. Lake County 911 Executive Director Brian Hitchcock said the call was mishandled.

“You don’t tell someone you don’t have resources,” Hitchcock said. “You contact the agency and tell them your problem, then they’re the ones that guide the resources.

Gary firefighters were also available across the street, but they were not notified.

“The call did not officially go through Gary dispatch,” said spokeswoman LaLosa Dent Burns. “And because of that, a unit was not sent.”

Ervin said he “just passed out,” but the experience raises concerns in light of a mishandled call in June, where a man was found dead inside a church by his niece, seven hours after he called 911. 

“I’m glad mine wasn’t that serious,” Ervin said. “But, you know, it could have been.”

Hitchcock said a new 911 dispatcher center is set to open in September, and all dispatchers will be trained under a national standard.

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