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911 Dispatcher May Have Given Faulty Instructions

The McClellan Law Firm

A 911 dispatcher in San Diego may have given questionable medical instructions, local news reports.

The accident occurred when a motorcycle struck a pedestrian, amputating his leg. A bystander used his belt as a tourniquet in an attempt to save the man's life, following first-aid training he received in the Navy.

"I put the belt around his leg and stopped the bleeding," said the man. "It's been bothering me because I thought I did the right thing by putting the tourniquet on, and when I was told to take it off…yeah, it's been bothering me."

The man's girlfriend was at the scene of the accident and placed the 911 call. In it, the dispatcher instructed them to remove the belt. After the man followed these instructions, the victim became unconscious and later died.

The man said, "But because they said to take [the belt] off, I took it off…and I didn't' agree with that."

San Diego Fire Chief Response

The San Diego Fire Chief issued a statement to local news sources, indicating that the fire department was aware of the issue. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department is currently reviewing this case.

"I have confidence in the ability of our dispatcher to handle emergencies efficiently," said the fire chief, "…and I want the public to be assured you can have that same confidence."

What are the legal implications?

Although this case is still under investigation, it raises an interesting question: Are 911 dispatchers legally liable for deaths and injuries?

In 2010, a lawsuit alleged that multiple San Francisco dispatchers failed to provide proper emergency services. In the suit, plaintiff's attributed the poor services to maladministration on the part of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.

In 2012, the LA Times reported that Los Angeles Fire Department wasted time instructing callers to start CPR on accident and crime victims. The article also stated that "speed is everything," when it comes to CPR, and delayed first-aid can lead to death.

San Diego Wrongful Death Lawsuits

At the McClellan Law Firm, we provide caring legal guidance and advocacy for families who lost someone they love to wrongful death. If you believe that your loved one's death was caused by the carelessness or negligence of another, speak with an attorney from our law firm today.

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