911 call: What happens when supervisor won't help

6:17 PM, Apr 11, 2007   |    comments
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New Port Richey, Florida - "9-1-1 what is your emergency?"

The caller on the line says, "My girlfriend... I don't know, she's choking!"

911 operator Jenny Montanino received that call March 24th saying that Nancy McGhee was choking to death inside a Land O'Lakes home.

The operator asks the caller if he can do the Heimlich Maneuver, but he misunderstands and asks if she means to get behind her.

As part of the investigation into the incident by the Pasco Fire Department, Montanino says she asked for assistance for what's called "emergency medical dispatch," because she is not yet certified to do this.

But her supervisor Dave Cook, who in the past has been disciplined for sleeping on duty, said "I am not getting on with a hysterical caller."

The caller begged the operator to get people to the home and she assured him help was coming, but the caller hung up in frustration.

Montanino called him back and eventually Cook got on the line, but the caller was getting more upset:

Cook asks the caller if the woman was alert and the caller replies, "No sir." Cook asks again, and the caller tells him the same thing.

Cook then firmly says, "Listen to me, listen to me." The caller says he can't do Heimlich Maneuver, and Cook responds by saying "Alright, I'm going to give you back to the operator."

The report says Cook dropped the phone receiver onto the desk and said, "See, he's not listening."

And not only was there confusion inside the Pasco 911, but also because emergency units were out of place, it took 11 minutes after the call came before help arrived -- even though there is a fire station 7.6 miles away. And by that time, Nancy McGhee was dead

The investigation also shows Cook laughingly said after the woman died, "Another one bites the dust," and "I guess she bit off more than she can chew."

Cook -- who was found sleeping on the job again the day after the incident -- turned in his resignation for medical reasons. The Pasco Fire Department is continuing an investigation.

The assistant supervisor, Maureen Thomas, is also on leave.


Mike Deeson,Tampa Bay's 10 News

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