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Peterborough woman says 911 dispatcher hung up during call about mother’s heart attack

Click to play video: '911 call gone wrong'
911 call gone wrong
A Peterborough woman wants answers after her call to 911 was cut short while her mother was in cardiac arrest – May 10, 2018

A Peterborough woman is looking for answers after her call to 911 was cut short while her mother went into cardiac arrest and later died.

In December 2017, Kim Hatfield and her mother Shirley were cooking eggs in their apartment when Shirley suddenly couldn’t breath.

“Then she started wheezing and she went really, really white,” recalled Kim. “I said, ‘mom do you need an ambulance?’ She stared off into space like I wasn’t there.”

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Hatfield says she called 911 and informed a dispatch that her mother couldn’t breathe and was changing colours.

“The woman said, ‘Okay, ambulance is on its way. If it gets any worse call me back’ and she hung up.”

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Paramedics arrived within 15 minutes but Hatfield feels they did not seem to be aware of how serious the situation was.

As it turned out her 76-year-old mother had had a heart attack and died four days later at Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

“I would like an explanation as to why you hung up when you’re being told somebody cannot breathe and they’re changing colours?” asked Hatfield.

Hatfield lodged a complaint with the Central Ambulance Communication Centre (CACC) in Lindsay – an agency that controls ambulances in Peterborough,

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Hatfield says the CACC didn’t see any problems with the call response.

“(They said) we thought the call was handled just fine because we could hear your mom talking in the background. My response was ‘ no, you heard a TV because people who can’t breathe cannot talk.

CHEX News’ requests for comment from the manager of CACC were not met.

Calls and emails to the Ministry of Health in Toronto to request a copy of the 911 recording were also not returned.

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Hatfield says the apology from the CACC wasn’t enough.

“It’s all consuming because she was my mom; she was my life and I watched her die and couldn’t help her. It’s not right.”

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