Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

911 Call Abuse By The 911 Call Taker?

A 17 year old girl uses foul language.



A 911 caller uses foul language.



Yet, for some reason the 911 call taker for the Lincoln Park Police Department loses his cool and hangs up on the caller. Again and again.*

She runs down the street to the police station to try to get what she was calling for – an ambulance – and she is arrested.

That’ll teach her to call 911 about a medical emergency!

Here is the video with the recording of the 911 calls.

I agree that the girl, Adrianne Ledesma, sure does not seem to get the picture, either. Her father just had brain surgery and is now having a seizure, but she is worried about suing the guy on the phone. Maybe Dad should sue over this, but have a lawyer prevent his daughter from receiving any of this money.

It is not at all clear if the father is still seizing, or was ever seizing, or how often this happens, but this kid needs to start acting responsibly. If you have a family member with a medical condition, you need to learn to deal with it, not try to figure out whom you might sue for giving you a hard time.

The police officer, Seargent Robert McFarlan, must have a doozy of an excuse. He has been working for 20 years (5 years longer than Daniel Martin). He may not have any skeletons in his closet. He refused to comment.

What is his job?

His job is to dispatch the appropriate people to deal with whatever emergencies occur during his shift. His job is to calm down people on the other end of the phone, so that he may obtain the information he needs. Once he knows there is a request for an ambulance, he should start sending the ambulance. I am guessing that Lincoln Park has Enhanced 911, which is a form of caller ID. He does not know what is going on, but there has been a request for an ambulance.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could refuse to deal with people if they used less than polite language. I wouldn’t even get to a lot of the calls with the language used by some of my partners.

Assuming that we did make it to the call without expletive, the families, by-standers, and patients have been known to use the occasional indelicate expression. I have been yelled at repeatedly for taking too long because the patient was not white. Not that dispatch provides that kind of information, or even asks for it, but some people have priorities that have nothing to do with the patient. They just use the patient as an excuse to cause trouble, such as to sue.

The malice of these by-standers is not the fault of the patient.

This is a part of the job. If we feel threatened, it is appropriate to leave until police arrive and deal with whatever violence/potential violence is there. Of course, if I am on the other end of a phone, am I in any danger?

The refreshing news on this is that the Chief of Police has been open about dealing with this. This is not the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

It is important to note that Sgt. McFarlan has had a career of meritous service, has never had a disciplinary action until this incident, and was suspended without pay for two weeks and sent for training after this incident.[1]

Never had a disciplinary action in 20 years? How many people can claim that? But what happened on this call?

As part of this post, I would like to include another pointer. The times when you should probably not get yelled at for using foul language include just about every legitimate reason to call 911. There is no justification for 911 acting as Miss Manners, especially since Seargent McFarlan uses obscenity during the 911 call, too.

Here is an imaginary call to the 911 Hypocrisy Line.

911Hello, 911 Hypocrisy Line, how may I help you?

CallerI need a *&%$#@ ambulance.

911Hold on there, Missy. I’m not gonna put up with that $#!+. You’re going to have to call back again and act like a professional this time.

911 call takers do put up with a lot of abuse on the phone. I am not defending abuse of 911 in any way. I wonder how many times they hear the words, Thank you, at the end of a call. They deserve our thanks. They do not deserve to be lumped in with the few who make the news for bad judgment.

Hat tip to Medic(three).

The Wall Street Journal has a story about this and a couple of law suits about two other 911 calls in Michigan. What’s Going On With 911 Operators In Michigan?


^ * David Konig has a different take on whether the hang up is by the 911 call taker or the caller. If the caller hung up, what was she thinking? That is a rhetorical question. We all know that she was not thinking. Maybe it is due to the emergency, but what does hanging up accomplish? The link is below [1]

^ 1 Lincoln Park 911 Operator Denies Service Over Swear Words
David Konig

For those not familiar with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Daniel Martin references, use the search box in the upper left of the browser window. You will get more information than you ever wanted on OHP and Daniel Martin.