When a person calls 911 to get help for an injured person in California, they often anticipate that help will arrive swiftly and efficiently in order to provide aid to the injured individual. If they are afraid they won’t be able to get help, they may choose to take the injured person to the hospital on their own. Because emergency responders are trained in saving lives, it is often better to leave an injured person until an ambulance can arrive. A young woman’s boyfriend learned the hard way that 911 is not always as efficient as it should be, as evidenced by her family’s wrongful death lawsuit.
The woman died in 2010 after falling twice in the snow and claiming she was having a heart attack. She told her boyfriend to call 911, and he waited with her in the snow for two hours before an ambulance arrived, at which time the woman was already dead.
The judge handling the lawsuit recently tossed the family’s claims because the woman did not make the call herself, nor was the call made by a family member, although the man had been her boyfriend for 25 years. According to the judge, this means that the city did not have a responsibility to her because she did not have a special relationship with the city.
Residents have complained of long wait times with 911 calls in New York as the city attempts to modernize the 911 system. Another accident resulted in the death of a 4 year old girl after a car accident when emergency responders did not arrive in time to help her.
Source: Daily News, “Wrongful death lawsuit by family of woman who died waiting for ambulance thrown out because she did not make 911 call herself,” Barbara Ross, September 6, 2013