911 Dispatcher Sends Ambulance to Wrong DC Address

WASHINGTON — A 2-year-old D.C. boy suffering an asthma attack last weekend waited 20 minutes for an ambulance that was dispatched to the wrong address, and 911 dispatchers are now claiming responsibility for the mix up.

After her son was suddenly hit with an asthma attack Saturday afternoon, Paulette Liverpool called 911 for an ambulance.

“It was from a woman who complained her child was having trouble breathing. That is a potentially a very serious call,” said Alan Etter with the D.C. Office of Unified Communications, which oversees emergency response.

But the dispatcher put in the address as Galveston Place, instead of Galveston Street, Etter said.

“That is what led to the confusion and that is what led to the fire department being sent to the incorrect address,” he said.

As Fox5 first reported, the woman took her son to the hospital after waiting 20 minutes. The boy is now doing OK.

The dispatcher broke procedures twice — by not staying on the line until help arrived and not checking in with the caller when responders couldn’t find the patient, Etter said.

“Neither of those procedures were followed in this case … We are taking the appropriate steps to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore,” Etter said.

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