LaGarde Law Attorney Comments on Rising Concern Over 911 Operator Errors

Law Firm Newswire



Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 18, 2014 – Last year, retiree Medric Mills died in a parking lot while waiting for an ambulance that was sent to the wrong address. As the minutes ticked by, the victim’s daughter begged the 911 operator to simply call the firehouse that was across the street from the lot, but the operator refused to do so.

According to a new report from ABC News, this is just one in a series of emergency response blunders that is drawing attention to systemic problems in the way emergency response centers are run.

“This report shows that the growing concern over emergency response errors is completely justified,” commented Mary Ellis LaGarde, a Houston personal injury attorney. “The lack of accountability within the system is shocking.”

As Mills lay dying, firefighters from the firehouse saw bystanders shouting for help, but they did not intervene. The ABC News report indicates that one person received a short suspension in connection with Mills’ death.

In another incident, a 911 dispatcher hung up on a woman calling for help while her father had a seizure because the caller used a curse word. She called back, and the dispatcher still refused to send an ambulance, calling the woman stupid for having sworn during the previous conversation. The dispatcher was given a two-week suspension but eventually returned to the job.

“When this kind of behavior is given a slap-on-the-wrist response, the message is that the organization will tolerate reckless endangerment,” commented LaGarde. “That is the kind of preventable institutional behavior that costs people, like Mr. Mills, their lives.”

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