Cathryn McClelland’s family are suing after a 911 emergency dispatcher didn’t trust her eight year-old son’s information during a call, sparking a delay they say led to the nurse’s death (Pictures: KCTV)
A married mother of two young children died after 911 dispatchers allegedly failed to send an ambulance because they didn’t believe her eight year-old son’s call.
Cathryn McClelland, 40, died in Kansas City, Missouri, in July 2019, with a lawsuit filed by the nurse’s family last week detailing what they say were the blunders leading to her death.
McClelland felt ill on the morning of her death, and planned to drive herself to hospital to avoid scaring her children. But she collapsed at her home before she was able to do so.
The suit claims McClelland’s son gave the correct address after he dialed 911, within one minute and 11 seconds into the call. It further alleges that dispatchers didn’t trust his information, and sent him outside to look at the house number, as well as to find a piece of mail with his address printed on it.
The flustered boy gave an incorrect address, but quickly corrected himself. McClelland’s family’s lawyers say the dispatch team failed to send an ambulance in the general direction of her home, and that they struggled to contact the correct response team.
It is unclear why these alleged blunders were allowed to happen, and if their refusal to believe the boy ultimately prompted the delay.
Attorneys say the dispatchers’ blunders cost 10 vital minutes, with McClelland later dying in hospital after suffering a heart attack and heart rhythm problem.
Their lawsuit claims hospital staff were able to restart McClelland’s heart, but that she suffered fatal organ damage and brain injuries because of the delay in sending the ambulance, KCTV reported.
McClelland’s widower Frank and her family are now suing the city of Kansas City, Kansas city’s Fire and Police Departments, as well as the Police Board of Commissioners and individuals with a direct connection.
They are seeking unspecified damages. None of those named in the suit have commented on it.
An online obituary said McClelland was an organ donor, and that she gave ‘at least six people the gift of a longer and better quality life’ in the wake of her death.
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