I-TEAM: Council to hold hearing after baby dies, Cleveland ambulance sent to wrong address

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland City Council members are now asking hard questions after the FOX 8 I-TEAM revealed that an ambulance was sent to the wrong address for a baby not breathing. The baby died days later.

This incident comes after we recently exposed Cleveland 911 calls going unanswered.

Now, there are new demands for answers about the 911 call in a medical emergency for three-week-old Jha-Syah.

The family called from E. 102nd Street and Kempton Avenue. But, records show a dispatcher sent an ambulance to E. 102nd Street and Kinsman Avenue, about 5 miles away.

Nearly 6 minutes into the call, a dispatcher can be heard asking, “Does anybody see the paramedics?” and “Did you tell me 102 — Kinsman?”

Now, the head of the Cleveland City Council Safety Committee is planning a hearing about how that call was handled.

Councilman Blaine Griffin said, “My heart goes out to Jha-Syah’s family.”

Records show an ambulance got to the wrong address in four minutes. Paramedics got to the baby’s house in eight minutes.

His grandmother is desperate for answers.

“That’s the question. Why? Why so long? Why this miscommunication?” Ernestine Bell told the I-TEAM.

Councilman Griffin wants his committee to dig into what happened with the call for the baby. And, he also wants someone to explain another problem in Cleveland dispatch revealed by the I-TEAM. Each month, hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of calls a month don’t get answered immediately.

Griffin said, “I will tell you that our job as council is to hold everybody accountable. And, I will tell you that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re really gonna push for changes that need to be made to address this issue.”

The I-TEAM has reported a state agency found Cleveland dispatch not answering 911 calls quickly enough to meet state standards two years in a row. While council members are concerned about that, the conversation keeps coming back to that call for the baby.

Councilman Kevin Conwell said, “It saddens me a great deal.”

He, too, is asking questions.

Conwell added, “There should be some kind of critical path in place or contingencies to make sure that…this just shouldn’t happen.”

Cleveland EMS had already started an internal investigation. Now, the demand to know what went wrong is growing.

Meantime, Cuyahoga County officials have started moving to have all 911 calls from cell phones in Cleveland answered in a county dispatching center in the hopes of getting calls answered more quickly. That changeover could take months.

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