Ile Bizard family demands answers after being put on hold by 911 during son’s seizure
Three-year-old Liam Torres is in good shape now, but a week ago, he and his parents had the scare of a lifetime.
“The scariest part, I thought to myself is ‘Am I gonna lose my son today?'” said his mother Vanessa Larche.
Liam was at his Ile Bizard daycare on Aug. 29.
Larche was at home getting ready to pick him up when her phone rang.
“It was one of the educators calling me to get over to the daycare ASAP, Liam was experiencing convulsions. I can’t even describe the feeling. My limbs went completely numb,” the mother told Global News.
The daycare director said within a minute of realizing something was wrong with Liam, she called 911.
“I was immediately put on hold. I thought ‘Am i cut off?’ There was no music, nothing. Then, I dialled with my cell and both lines were on hold,” said Debra Jolly, director of Garderie Le Petit Castel VI.
This all happened after a brief, intense storm ripped through Ile Bizard.
The daycare director was still on hold when Larche arrived a few minutes later, so Larche decided to call as well. She claims she was also put on hold.
“All I could do is lie on the floor in the director’s office, cradle my son, sing to him and caress him and pray that he was gonna pull through this,” Larche described.
The first 911 call was made at 3:10 p.m.
Urgences-santé told Global News it was transferred to them at 3:25 p.m.
The ambulance arrived at 3:45 p.m — 35 minutes had passed.
A pair of city workers happened to be in the area at the time.
“I asked an educator, ‘Go run, ask them to get the fire department.’ The station is just a few minutes away,” said Jolly.
“Right away, no second-guessing, we went down to get the firemen, came back up to tell them they were coming,” said one of the city workers, Alexandre Fortin-Caillauld.
An official at the Ile Bizard fire station confirmed that first responders did go help Liam at the daycare after the blue-collar workers showed up here.
Liam experienced a febrile seizure related to a throat infection. He’s fine now, but the Torres family’s trust in the 911 system is shattered.
“We have the misconception, you call 911, they’re gonna be there for you. Well, that was a bit of a wake-up call. That’s not always going to be the case,” she told Global News.
The Montreal police department, which runs the 911 call centre, did not get back to Global News with a comment by the time of publication.
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