Parents Want Changes To 911 System After Child's Death
by Kim Gebbia
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The parents of a two-year-old boy in Davidson County said he died from a medical seizure, but that the long wait for an ambulance to arrive never gave him a fighting chance to survive. Now, these grieving parents are trying to use their son's story to promote change in 911 protocols.
Right now, that protocol is to alert responders from within the county where the call came in, even if the closest ambulance or fire truck is in a neighboring county.
"I shouldn't have to wonder if my son would be here today. That shouldn't be a question I should have to answer or even wonder about," Jesse Harris IV told NewsChannel 5.
But the Davidson County father wonders just that after his two-year old boy suffered a devastating seizure.
"A lot of grieving, just trying to get back to a new normal," Harris said.
When the child stopped breathing inside their Antioch home, a friend babysitting said he called 911 several times, but say they kept putting him on hold.
Harris made it home before the ambulance arrived and he tried to revive his two-year-old with his own hands.
"When there was no response on what I was doing my next thought was ‘where is the ambulance? where is the emergency help we called for?'" added Harris.
Especially when Harris knew there was a fire station justtwo2 miles away from his home over the Rutherford County line.
But instead, the 911 log sheet shows the call came in just after 10 p.m. Two minutes later, a Davidson County ambulance and fire truck were dispatched. Thirteen minutes after the call, the first fire truck arrived and it was 15 minutes before the ambulance pulled into their driveway.
"It felt like eternity," Harris said.
What was agonizing for this father was protocol for dispatch. The responders were also required to take Jessie Harris to a Davidson County Hospital which was twice as far as the closest one in Rutherford County.
"The sooner you get medical attention, the better you are. Everyone knows this," said Lori Gregory.
It's the type of situation that Lori Gregory has been fighting against for months. Ever since her son died in a car wreck and county lines prevented a quick response that might have saved his life and Jessie Harris' as well.
"It devastates me to know what I have been fighting for months have (sic) taken another child and affected another family," Gregory said.
Harris is now joining her fight to change the law in Tennessee.
"Maybe somebody else's son or daughter or loved one just because the fastest assistance wasn't provided to them," Harris said.
Nashville Fire Officials said the 13 minute response time is typical and acceptable for that part of the Davidson County simply because it is in a rural area and one of the most difficult to reach. And as far as the decision of which hospital to go to, Kim Lawson with the Fire Department said they are required to bring patients to a hospital within County Lines, not necessarily the closest one.