Family Wants to Know Why Its Calls To 911 Were Placed On Hold

(Memphis) A Memphis family wants to know why its calls to 911 were placed on hold after they found a loved on unconscious in his apartment.

Family members said they called several times, but couldn’t get through for close to 20 minutes.

When the ambulance finally arrived, their loved one was dead.

“She pulled him over, and there was no response. We didn’t know what was going on,” said Jennifer Barton.

Barton found her brother lying face down on his bedroom floor last Tuesday night.

While her cousin gave him CPR, Jennifer said she frantically called 911 over and over again.

“I called 911, and there was some type of answering service. Every single time I was on hold five to six minutes, seven to eight minutes, nine to ten minutes. All for an answering service,” said Barton.

Barton’s sister, Jocelyn Barton, said the same went for her. She was in Nashville and called police there hoping they could help.

“They said, ‘OK, hold on. We will help you. We will transfer you to Shelby County.’ Looking at my phone log, I was on the phone for nine minutes and 32 seconds,” Jocelyn Barton said.

Memphis Police said they were flooded will calls last Tuesday night.

During the same time the family tried to get help, police said 142 calls came into 911 and the non-emergency call line.

MPD Spokesperson Karen Rudolph said the first call they got from Barton was at 9:02 p.m., and she was on hold for seven minutes before she hung up.

Rudolph said she called several times again, and police and paramedics arrived at the scene at 9:20 p.m.

Rudolph said a lot of calls were coming in, and if a person is placed on hold, “they should hold on the line until the dispatcher returns. Otherwise, if you hang up and try calling again, you will be placed behind other calls and will have to wait even longer.”

“What if they did get on the scene and my brother was breathing?” said Jennifer Barton.

The family buried their loved one Saturday. They’re waiting to find out what exactly happened to him.

Nationally, the average 911 wait time is ten minutes.


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