Sleeping 911 supervisor Dave Cook costs Pasco County $75,000

10:18 AM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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Land O'Lakes, Florida -- Pasco County is making a several thousand dollar settlement with a dead woman's family, thanks to a botched 911 response and callous supervisors in Emergency Services.

It is a story that the 10 News Investigators first brought to light in 2007 involving a Land  O'Lakes woman who choked to death on a piece of steak. Her family is picking up a $75,000 check from Pasco County because of negligence and apparent indifference by Pasco 911.

Almost six years ago, a call came into Pasco 911 as Nancy McGhee was choking to death in her Pasco home. The 911 operator asked McGhee's boyfriend, Chris Cooper, if he could do the Heimlich Maneuver, but he couldn't figure out how to do it.

The 911 operator, Jenny Montanino, wasn't certified to tell him how to do it, so she asked her supervisor Dave Cook to take over.

During the call, the tone in Cook's voice seems laced with frustration, because he couldn't get Cooper to perform the maneuver. Cook finally said, "You can't do it... all right, I'm going to give you back to the operator, OK?"

The incident report said Cook dropped the phone receiver onto the desk and said, "I am not getting on with a hysterical caller."

Cook is the same supervisor we uncovered sleeping on the job prior to this incident. And the confusion in Pasco 911 was a factor that kept units from responding in the acceptable time frame of four to eight minutes. 

Paramedics finally made it to the home a full 11 minutes after the call came into 911. But by the time they arrived, Nancy McGhee was lying dead on the floor, covered with a sheet.

In 2007, McGhee's mother, Martha Callahan, told 10 News, "That's a heck of a 911 operation."

Callahan initially filed the suit against Pasco, but she died last year before it was settled. But back then, Callahan was also outraged to learn Supervisor David Cook said after learning of her daughter's death, "Another one bites the dust" and "I guess she bit off more than she could chew."

Sleeping supervisor Dave Cook abruptly retired after the incident. Another supervisor resigned before she could be fired, and the operator who took the initial call and asked for help from supervisors is still with Pasco Emergency Services.

Previous Coverage of the Troubles at Pasco 911:

4/5/07: Investigation follows death after 911 call
4/10/07: What happens when supervisor won't help
4/11/07: More problems for Pasco 911 center
7/26/07: Pasco 911 dispatcher suspended
8/13/07: Pasco 911 calls not answered promptly
9/11/07: Even more problems with Pasco 911
5/22/09: Caught on tape - 911 supervisor asleep on duty

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