NEW ORLEANS — A woman who lives in Bywater took to NextDoor to recount a scary incident that took place recently. Cindi Richardson says her husband was having a heart attack but an ambulance never showed up. She says she called 911 five times in 90 minutes.
“The 911 operator kept telling me it was ‘pending’ and there no ambulances available,” she wrote on Nextdoor.
Her son eventually drove to the nearest fire station for help.
According to Councilmember at large, JP Morrell, the Orleans Parish Communications District, or OPCD, didn’t handle the 911 call adequately.
“Fire was available, EMS was available and the hospital was available, so the people who could help this person in distress, they were on deck ready to help. OPCD was the connective tissue that was missing and fell flat on their face in this instance,” Morrell said.
While Richardson says the operator told her there wasn’t an ambulance available, Morrell said the OPCD operator didn’t ask the right questions. He says OPCD needs to train their operators correctly to ask certain questions to gauge what is happening on the other end of the call, which Morrell says didn’t happen in this case.
“If they expect someone who’s in crisis to go through a complex medical history and a list before they send services, that’s completely and utterly ridiculous. Someone who’s in the middle of a traumatic health crisis is not going to have the wherewithal and the foresight to put out their husband’s medical history and go through it with the 911 operator,” Morrell said.
He adds this incident and ones like it don’t help to build trust with the community.
In a statement to WWL OPCD says the incident is under investigation.