The Lake County 9-1-1 has fired one dispatcher and suspended a second after a man died when an ambulance could not locate him. On June 6th 44 year old Burt Sanders called 9-1-1 from inside a church when he began to have chest pain. Sanders was connected to Sherrie Williams, a 6 year veteran disaptcher. Williams was on the phone with Sanders for about 7 minutes according to media reports, much of the time with an open line. Williams tried to get Sanders to open the door to the church so that help could get to him. Williams was fired for not properly notifying the radio dispatcher of the severity of the call. The dispatcher assigned to the EMS radio was suspended for three days as a result of the incident. Dispatch officials say that 12 year veteran dispatcher Vanessa Reese failed to investigate the call further when the private ambulance crew assigned found the church doors locked and the lights off.
This incident should provide us a reminder of our duty to act. In all calls we must do everything in our power to investigate all possible leads before dismissing the call.