911 operator fired after ambulance sent to wrong address, man dies

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LAKE COUNTY, Ind. -- A Lake County Indiana 911 operator has been fired after sending an ambulance to the wrong address.

The mistake that lead to an elderly man's death earlier this week.

Lake County Indiana’s 911 executive director says he fired the dispatcher for several reasons.  He says she repeatedly hung up on the elderly caller, interrupted him on the line and as a nine year veteran, he feels she should have been able to make out his address.

The first call came in around 8:00 p.m. Monday night.  An 81-year-old man from Griffith, Indiana said he was having trouble breathing.

Recordings of the 911 call show the call is disconnected several times.  The man called back to make sure help is on the way, but there was still confusion over his address.

The dispatcher sent the ambulance to the 300 block of North Lillian St to the wrong home. Paramedics didn’t make it to the caller’s apartment in the 800 block of North Lillian for an hour.  By the time they got there, he had died.

The 911 director says the call came from a Sprint cell phone and that it did not automatically provide the caller’s address in their computer system.

This isn’t the first incident like this in Lake County Indiana.  In June, one dispatcher was suspended and the other fired after a delay in sending an ambulance to someone having chest pains who also died.

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