“Misinformation that is being circulated,” is what Ozark-Dale County E911 Executive Director Paula Simmons and E911 Board Chairman Frankie Wilson called statements from the Midland City Emergency Medical Services Coordinator about a recent medical emergency at Dale County High School.
At the Dale County Commission meeting Aug. 13 Simmons and Wilson both disputed Midland City’s EMS Coordinator Jeff Atkins' claim that his volunteers did not respond to a cardiac arrest call from Dale County High School—which is in Midland City—on Aug. 6 because they had not been contacted.
“We were never dispatched for that,” Atkins told those attending the Aug. 13 commission meeting. “They (Ozark-Dale E911) made the decision to send Ozark EMS.
“We questioned why we were not called,” Atkins said. “We were told they had a group already ready to go, ready to roll. They didn’t check with us to see if we did.”
Midland City was, in fact, called, Simmons told Atkins at the commission meeting, adding that she had written and audio transcripts of the exact dialogue with Midland City dispatchers for those interested in having a copy.
At issue is an Aug. 6 emergency call received by Ozark-Dale County E911 from a Dale County High School coach about a football player who was having trouble breathing during a morning football practice.
The 15-year-old football player collapsed during early morning practice and was airlifted to a medical facility after being resuscitated by coaching staff using an Automated External Defibrillators
“First and foremost, we are pleased to learn of the positive and continual improving condition of the patient in this case,” Simmons said. “Our prayers are that he continues to improve and will be re-united with his classmates soon.
“Due to some misinformation that is being circulated in regards to this incident we would like to release the timeline of events as noted by our Computer Aided Dispatch in hopes of providing some clarity,” Simmons said, explaining that the Ozark-Dale County E911 Center manages 911 calls for every municipality in Dale County except Daleville.
Simmons explained that when a 911 call is received dispatchers route the call to the appropriate agency for emergency personnel dispatch. “In this particular case a 911 call was received by the Ozark-Dale County E911 Center at 7:14 a.m. from Head Coach Don Moore at Dale County High School,” she said. “Coach Moore explained that he had a player that was experiencing some type of medical emergency and was in respiratory distress.
“The E911 dispatcher confirmed his location and routed the call, via a joint 911 transfer, to the Midland City Police Department for dispatch of Midland City Rescue,” she continued. “The Midland City Police dispatcher advised the caller that they would have emergency personnel en route and the call was terminated by Midland City Police Dispatch.”
Simmons said that at 7:16 a.m. the Ozark-Dale County E911 Center received another 911 call from Moore who reported that the patient was not breathing and that CPR— cardiopulmonary resuscitation—was in progress.
At that time multiple dispatchers contacted Pilcher’s Ambulance Service and Midland City Police Dispatch simultaneously to attempt to get emergency personnel to the scene, Simmons said. “At that time Pilcher’s Ambulance was unavailable and when the call was placed to Midland City Police Dispatch it was directed to the answering machine.”
Simmons said that at 7:17 a.m. an alternate number for Midland City Police Dispatch was called and the dispatcher stated that they did not have Midland City ambulance responding. “Due to the severity of the call Ozark-Dale County E911 dispatchers dispatched Ozark EMS to the scene at 7:17 a.m.,” she said.
Midland City also requested that the Dale County Sheriff’s Office respond as well due to their officer being on another call.
Simmons said that 7:18 a.m., a DCSO deputy arrived at the high school football field and began assisting with CPR and AED.
At 7:20 a.m., Ozark-Dale County E911 again called Midland City to determine if a first responder was en route. Midland City said that they had a first responder at the school.
At 7:25 a.m. Midland City called Ozark-Dale County E911 to report that their first responder was at the school and that if the ambulance did not arrive soon to dispatch “Survival Flight.” At 7:31 a.m. the Ozark EMS arrived on the scene.
“Our dispatchers manage hundreds of calls daily and the safety of the officers, firefighters and citizens we serve along with the efficiency in which we conduct operations is our top priority,” Simmons said. “We hope this provides some sort of clarity to this incident and we are looking forward to moving ahead.”
Atkins conceded that he had been given misinformation by the Midland City personnel.
The next meeting of the Dale County Commission is Sept. 10 in the Dale County Government Building. A work session begins at 10 a.m. and is followed immediately by a voting meeting. Both meetings are open to the public.