After waiting more than 10 minutes for the dispatchers to send help, a mother of two children passed away. Now her family is filing an unlawful death lawsuit against the city and others.
An unlawful death lawsuit was recently brought before the Jackson County Circuit Court by the family of a woman who died while waiting for emergency services to send help. According to the suit, the woman’s son called 911 after she collapsed. The boy’s father, Frank McClelland, filed the lawsuit against the City of Kansas City, the Kansas City Police Department, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, the Kansas City Fire Department, and several individuals alleged to be all at fault the death.
Emergency department; Image courtesy of paulbr75 via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com
At the time of the incident, McClelland was in Iowa working on a construction job. It was July 18, 2019, and his wife, Cathryn McClelland, 41, was at home with their son. According to the suit, she said, “She didn’t feel well and passed out in the family living room.” The boy, who was only 8 years old at the time, called 911. His call was “taken to the Kansas City Police Department and notified a dispatcher that his mother was on the ground.” The lawsuit states: “Within 71 seconds of the start of the call, the boy went outside to check the house number and gave the dispatcher the full address.”
However, instead of calling an ambulance, the police superintendent contacted the Kansas City Fire Department shipping line. “The police dispatcher informed the fire department dispatcher that the geographic information system did not match the boy’s address,” the lawsuit said. A handful of precious minutes passed as they paced back and forth, “trying to figure out the discrepancy.” During that time, the boy re-gave the dispatcher the house number and Mr. McClelland was contacted and confirmed the address.
About 10 minutes later, dispatchers contacted the Prairie Village Police Department and officers arrived three minutes later and began CPR. Six minutes later, an ambulance and rescue workers arrived and were able to get a pulse. From there, Ms. McClelland was taken to the local hospital, “where the doctors found that she was in cardiac arrest”. After a brain scan, it was found that she had no brain activity. The mother of two was pronounced dead on July 22, 2019.
The suit stated that the young man “was brave and heroic throughout the process of trying to get help for his mother”.
Attorney Brian McAllister represents the family and said the loss was “unbearable” for them. He said:
“For the family, I would hope that a jury would listen and act 100% fairly and that the system we have can be changed dramatically so that no one else ever has to go through this.”
He added that in the family’s lawsuit, “the defendants acted negligently or willfully or willfully”.
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