Family of heart-attack patient waits on hold for 911 dispatcher to pick up call

Family of heart-attack patient waits on hold for 911 dispatcher to pick up call

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 News is continuing the investigation into whether our emergency responders have the resources they need to take care of the public.

We told you about the ambulance that broke down with a heart attack patient inside this week.

Now, we’re digging deeper into the other disturbing part of this incident, involving a maxed out 911 system.

The man’s family said it had to wait to even get through to 911 dispatchers.

We want to know, why the wait, and does it happen to callers often?

Bob’s family found him unresponsive in the bathroom Sunday, June 23.

We’re only identifying him by his first name to protect his and his families identities.

“You teach your children when they’re little, if you have a problem you call 911,” his wife said.

Bob’s wife told their teenage daughter to make that call Sunday.

Problem is, she didn’t immediately get through.

“She went right into a hold pattern,” his wife said.

As they waited to speak to a dispatcher, neighbors came over to help with CPR.

Now, they’re all concerned about the fact their emergency was not addressed immediately, and they don’t want it to happen to someone else.

“Somebody needs to be held accountable for that,” a neighbor said. The leadership of this city, I hold them accountable because they are not providing the services that the citizens deserve and expect."

The family has no doubt the first responders are doing their jobs.

“I would just like for the decision makers to do theirs as well,” the neighbor said.

According to Dan Williams, a spokesperson from the city, 34 dispatchers are currently answering calls in Cleveland.

They have four more open positions they’re trying to fill.

The city said the average time it takes their team to answer a call is just under three seconds.

So why the wait Sunday?

“It was obviously overloaded,” the neighbor said. “That’s unacceptable.”

The city’s looking into it, but Williams says the call originally came in through the county’s system.

It was then transferred to the city that ultimately sent out the ambulance that malfunctioned.

“It seems like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” Bob’s neighbor said.

We reached out to the county about the wait time.

They’re trying to trace the call and see why there was such a long delay.

We should mention Bob did pull through that day even though the odds certainly seemed to be against him.

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