911 Tragedy

April 9, 2006

We’ve all taught our children to call 911 in the event of any emergency, right? We’ve even heard stories of children dialing 911 and saving the lives of a member of their family. Some children have even been lauded as heroes when they help their mother deliver a baby by way of calling 911. Alas, not all 911 stories are happy ones.

Sherrill Turner, 46 of Detroit collapsed in her apartment. Her quick thinking 5 year old son dialed 911 for help. Not once, but twice. During one of the calls, the 911 operator told him to stop playing with the phone.

In a tape of the call, parts of which were broadcast by Detroit-area television stations, the operator said: “Now put her on the phone before I send the police out there to knock on the door and you gonna be in trouble.”

Wow. Not only did tell him to stop playing with the phone, but she also scared him by telling him he was going to get in trouble with the police. How traumatizing might that be to a 5 year old boy?

I’ve heard of 911 operators staying on the phone with a dog, and sending out help when a dog calls in distress! In my opinion, this operator just didn’t take the time to investigate any further. It was at least an hour before authorities arrived, but by that time, the boy’s mother had died.

The 911 operator remains on the job amid the investigation.