The United States created the 911 system to be a "universal emergency number" for all citizens to seek emergency assistance. Our 911 program covers approximately 96% of the United States. What happens when you call 911, but there is a delay due to a system error?
Brian McCallister of The McCallister Law Firm P.C. represents a family whose eight (8) year old son (J.M.) called 911 when his mother collapsed and fell to the floor, becoming non-responsive. She was a healthy forty-one (41) year old wife and mother of two (2) young children and worked as a nurse at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
The mother was not feeling well on the morning of July 17, 2019, and told J.M. to call 911 for help if anything happened. J.M. called 911 and spoke to the Kansas City Police Department's dispatch. He told the call-taker he was "only a child" and that he and his little sister were with their mom lying on the ground. Their father was out of town.
J.M. told the dispatcher he lives in Prairie Village on Belinder Avenue. At the dispatcher's request, he went outside and told her the house number was 7347, approximately one minute and eleven seconds into the conversation. The dispatcher said she would connect him to "Ambulance" and stay on the line. Instead, she reached out to the Kansas City Fire Department because the address J.M. provided did not match the address generated by the 911 system. The difference between the two (2) locations is 775 feet. The dispatcher asked J.M. to look for any mail that would have his address, but there was none. J.M. gave the call-taker his father's phone number and followed her requests as precious time passed.
The dispatcher called J.M.'s father, stating J.M. "did not know his address." J.M.'s father provided the same address that J.M. had given soon after the call began.
After conversations with multiple first responders, police officers finally arrived at the home approximately twelve (12) minutes after J.M. called 911. Although her heart had stopped, paramedics could start her heart again; however, her brain was deprived of oxygenated blood for too long, and she suffered brain death. After several days, her family had to make the difficult decision to discontinue life-sustaining measures. She passed away on July 22, 2019, of hypoxia.
Brian McCallister filed a petition on behalf of the Estate on November 23, 2020. It attributed her death to the delayed response of the 911 system and that their actions were "grossly negligent and/or were willful and/or wanton misconduct." The matter is before the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, under Docket Number 2016-CV24247. The local CBS affiliate also covered this case. For more information, click here.
As stated on Brian's website, "it's not just justice, it's personal." Their cases include but are not limited to automobile accidents and defects, brain and other serious and catastrophic injuries, legal and medical malpractice, civil rights, trucking accidents and company negligence, police abuse, premises and product liability, and wrongful death.
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