911 Dispatcher Fired For Alleged Irresponsibility - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/04/04 - Jacksonville

911 Dispatcher Fired For Alleged Irresponsibility

Seventy-four-year-old Mary Woosley was at home with her husband and daughter, Carla, when her feeding tube got caught on her wheelchair and popped out of her stomach. Her husband, Joe, called 911. Fifteen minutes later, still no response. So, Carla made a call herself and talked to 911 operator Steven Morris.

Carla Wise, on the phone, said: "This tube, this hole's, you know, got blood and stuff coming out of it. And I mean, you know, we need to get it tended to."

"He said, 'Well, I dispatched the call," Carla told us. "But I can speed him up if you want me to.' And I said, 'That would be nice, you know, I mean, come on.'"

An investigation would later reveal the call was never dispatched. But Morris never told Carla help was not coming until Carla called a second time.

"He had to get a hold of some head guy, and they had a discussion and decided that this was a courtesy call because it wasn't life threatening," Carla said.

Morris told Carla to take her mother to the hospital herself: "On courtesy rides like that, what I'm saying is if there's a life-and-death situation that you said that she's not having, but it's just the point that it may close up, she can be transported to the hospital in her personal vehicle and have that tube put back in."

Morris was fired on Monday. The Jacksonville city manager says Morris blatantly ignored city policy: "When we have a deviation from that, we have to look, and if it's a serious deviation, then we have to take action," Bill Tackett said. "And that's what we did in this case."

Carla says this incident has caused her to lose faith in the 911 system.

"I always thought you call 911, you got 911," Carla said. "They'd come and take care of your family and whoever's hurt. I didn't know they weighted it."

Carla says she's glad Morris was fired and hopes what happened to her won't happen to anyone again. Woosley's feeding tube was replaced and she is doing fine at home. Tackett says Morris provided no explanation for his actions that night. Tackett says firing Morris was clearly the right thing to do.

Julie Tam, reporting.

Powered by Frankly