We’ve learned a Cuyahoga County dispatcher transferred the call to a line that was not working. It happened as technicians were working on the 911 system to give it an upgrade.
Last month, we exposed the breakdown.
15-month-old Na’Zir stopped breathing near Cleveland’s west side. His family called 911.
County dispatch transferred that call to Cleveland EMS, but it went to voice mail for more than six minutes.
The family finally took the child to the hospital, but he didn’t survive.
Cuyahoga County first told us the system was getting a computer upgrade, but that did not appear to play any role in this.
Now, after an investigation, the county blames the company behind the 911 system.
Mary Louise Madigan, a county spokesperson, issued a statement saying, ”It is our understanding that due to our vendor (Motorola) performing maintenance on its system, an outbound call to Cleveland EMS was routed to a line/cluster that was not fully synchronized with other lines/clusters being used by Cleveland EMS. Because of this, the Motorola System did not assign a call to Cleveland EMS agents so that it could be answered. Therefore, Cleveland EMS was unaware of this call and could not respond.”
In fact, the city of Cleveland has said EMS had a full staff in dispatch ready to take calls on the night of this emergency.
The child’s grandmother, Friday, spoke out to the I TEAM.
“It’s somebody’s fault. If I have to go sit in front of their desk, somebody is going to explain to me what happened.” Stephanice Washington said. “I didn’t even get an apology from the city, apology from the county. Nothing but an email.”
Na’Zir’s grandmother tells us all she got from the county was an email with a very complex, technical explanation of what happened, which is virtually meaningless to the average person.
So, she wants a better explanation of the breakdown, and she wants to know what’s being done so that it doesn’t happen again.
Washington also said to the I-Team, “How do they prevent this from happening to the next family?
Make sure your back-up works.”
The county is not talking, yet, about what happens next. The county also is not yet answering follow-up questions concerning all of this.
At the same time, Na’Zir’s grandmother is wondering where she goes from here.
“My Na’Zir was my love. He lighted up my day, every day. My house is dead,” she said.