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Woman dies after 911 call goes unanswered for 2 hours

When a person calls 911 in Baltimore, he or she expects an immediate response. This is, after all, the purpose of the 911 system, to ensure that people’s needs are met in the case of an emergency. A quick response time can mean the difference between life and death.

One family knows this all too well. Their loved one died waiting nearly two hours for an ambulance to arrive after her boyfriend called 911. It was a cold night during the December 2010 blizzard in New York City. A 51-year-old woman had been out with her boyfriend of 25 years and sister earlier that night. Her sister dropped the couple off about 50 feet outside their building, but before they could make it inside, the woman began to think she was experiencing a heart attack. Her boyfriend called 911 and was told repeatedly that help was on the way. However, when it finally did arrive, the woman was already dead.

The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, saying that if the boyfriend had not been lulled into a sense of security by the promise of an ambulance coming, he would have tried to get the woman to the hospital himself. In a surprising ruling recently, the judge tossed the lawsuit, saying that because the woman’s boyfriend had made the 911 call instead of the woman herself or a family member, that the city was not liable for her death.

The woman’s boyfriend says that he will file a lawsuit against the city himself. He would be well advised to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to help him with his case and get justice for the woman who was his companion for a quarter of a century.

Source: New York 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 and Dareh Gregorian, Sep. 6, 2013