Bronx Mother Alleges 911 Mistake Cost Her Baby's Life

Julia Knight says it took medics more than 24 minutes to arrive at her home

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A 911 dispatcher has been reassigned and after allegedly sending help to the wrong address as a baby stopped breathing. Danielle Elias has more. (Published Friday, Aug 22, 2014)

    A Bronx mother claims a mistake by a 911 dispatcher cost her infant daughter her life when emergency responders were sent to the wrong address while the baby was unconscious. 

    Julia Knight called 911 after finding her 5-month-old daughter Isabella unresponsive while sleeping facedown in her crib. 

    "When I put her on her back, she was unconscious," she said. "I started screaming and hollering. I dialed 911 and let them know my baby wasn't breathing: 'Help, help, I need the EMS.'"

    "I kept telling her 450 East 169th Street. She kept telling me it's a bad address, it's a bad address. I'm like, 'No, it's not,'" said Knight. 

    A spokesman for the FDNY confirmed the medic went to the wrong address before making it to the correct one. EMS treated Isabella on site and then at the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

    "The doctor didn't say anything about 'She's already dead' or 'We tried to bring her back,'" said Knight. "I heard him say, 'Time of death, 8:10 a.m.,' and then he came to me and was like, 'I'm so sorry.'"

    Knight said it took more than 24 minutes for medics to arrive and take Isabella to the hospital -- critical minutes, she believes, that were a matter of life or death. 

    A spokesperson for the NYPD, which dispatches EMS workers in the city, said the matter is being reviewed internally and that the dispatcher who picked up Knight's call has been reassigned. 

    As Knight grieves her daughter, she says she hopes dispatchers receive more training in a system that she feels has failed her. 

    A report recently issued by the city's Department of Investigation found that a decade-long, $2 billion-plus project to modernize the 911 system has been plagued by poor management, shoddy oversight and a lack of planning. 

    The current 911 program has suffered from disputes between involved agencies like the NYPD and FDNY being allowed to develop their own dispatch sysems instead of having a unified one, as well as lack of planning about the program's specifications and objectives. 

    -- With AP reporting

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