In an emergency, the critical moment when someone dials 911 is often the key factor in determining life or death for the person in danger.
In the case of a 6-month-old Dallas baby, the inability to reach emergency dispatchers resulted in a tragic fate.
Ironically, Baby Brandon’s mother, Bridget Alex, was at her nephew’s funeral when her infant’s babysitter called to tell her that he had fallen and would not wake up.
“I said, ‘Why couldn’t you call 911?’ she said, ‘I am calling 911. They are not answering their phones.’”
According to The Root, the child’s caretaker made three calls to 911 and was never able to get through.
“The last time she called, they had her on hold for 31 minutes,” the mother said. “I just want y’all to tell me, why didn’t you respond to my son? That’s all I want to know.”
Alex said she rushed home to pick up her son and get him to a hospital, but that was nearly an hour after the babysitter had made the first call to 911 and by then, Brandon had stopped breathing. Within an hour of being brought to the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
The delay in response from 911 is attributed to an ongoing problem throughout the city in which emergency phone lines are being flooded with “ghost calls” from numbers registered to T-Mobile.
T-Mobile phones are reportedly spontaneously dialing 911, a recurring issue that’s been happening since November. The rogue calls clog up the lines for hours at a time. According to CBSDFW, 911 wait times on Saturday were between 30 and 40 minutes.
“If you’ve got a T-Mobile phone service, be very, very careful because you may not be able to get into 911,” Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings said. “I want the problem solved immediately, and if it takes longer I want to know why.”
Alex holds the city and T-Mobile responsible for her son’s death, although the city maintains that, thus far, there is no evidence that the delays in emergency response played a role in the tragedy.
One may ask themselves why the babysitter didn’t just rush him to the hospital herself after not being able to get through the first time. It’s unclear from initial reports, but it is possible that the caretaker did not have access to a vehicle to transport the infant in.
Regardless of what the city says, there is absolutely some accountability that needs to be taken by city officials and T-Mobile, particularly because this dangerous issue has been happening for months and is not yet resolved. That, in and of itself, is enough to spark outrage.
Paramedics may not have been able to save baby Brandon even if they would have responded in a timely manner, but sadly, his grief-stricken mother will never know and she is forced to live with the painful thought of “what if.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters