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December 29, 2016

Suit: Woman died after waiting 49 minutes for ambulance

By EMS1 Staff

ORLAND PARK, Ill. — The family of a woman who died after going without oxygen for 17 minutes filed a lawsuit against a call center and first responders.

Laurelyn Wagner-Pitts, 60, went into cardiac arrest July 30; she died in August after her family decided to take her off a ventilator. Her husband, Randy Pitts, called 911 after Wagner-Pitts began to make “funny noises and had a look on her face,” reported the Joliet Patch

The suit states that the address placed into the computer-aided dispatch system was incorrect, even though Pitts had told the dispatcher where he lived. Pitts stayed on the line with the dispatcher while he waited for EMS to arrive, but said his wife was gasping for air, still awake and unresponsive. 

“The dispatcher operator realized she had dispatched the wrong [fire] department, which was much further away from the Orland Park address than other departments,” the suit states. “The Homer Fire Department had reached Lakeview Trail but could not find the home. The ambulance was canceled by dispatch.”

By the time a second ambulance had been dispatched, which was only three minutes away, 10 minutes had already passed and Wagner-Pitts had stopped breathing. 

When paramedics arrived, the suit states that they “failed to use an automatic external defibrillator” on Wagner-Pitts. Crews transported her to a hospital, but 49 minutes had passed since the 911 call was placed.