Report: Dispatcher's 'freelance' question to 911 caller slowed medical help | February 11, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 11, 2022

Report: Dispatcher's 'freelance' question to 911 caller slowed medical help

Police auditor's review of a 2019 medical emergency criticizes missing body camera but calls officers' other decisions 'reasonable'

by Sue Dremann

A new analysis by Palo Alto's independent police auditor, Office of Independent Review (OIR) Group, of an investigation into how a 911 call in June 2019 was handled has found that first responders made mistakes but that their decisions were for the most part "reasonable" for the situation.

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Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2022 at 9:24 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

I am very disappointed with the OIG report. They are supposed to hold the PAPD accountable not approve of their poor and unprofessional behavoir. Bodycam footage showing this is still disappearing.


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:36 am

felix is a registered user.

What happened to this woman was and is outrageous.

Moore was a chain of command Captain and highest paid in the PAPD - even more than the Chief. That she muffed her video/audio, and her car dashcam video disappeared is beyond belief. It's good she's gone. That the City Council presented her with a Resolution upon her recent retirement was extremely ill conceived. I heard she didn't show up to receive it.

Officer Franco-Clausen called her wife who knew the woman with the medical emergerncy - both were very involved in County Democratic Party politics and did not see eye to eye. To say this call was unprofessional is an understatement - it had no purpose but petty gossip.

The officer's wife, by the way, is currently calling around trying to drum up political support for PAPD Chief Jonsen's run for Santa Clara County Sheriff, putting down the other candidates as unqualified. Surely no one will give credence to this woman's opionion given her conflict of interest. And surely no one will think that Chief (Mr. non-transparency) Bob Jonsen, who presided over this whole debacle, is qualified to be County Sheriff.


Posted by Lynne Henderson
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:44 am

Lynne Henderson is a registered user.

What's "reasonable?" I am appalled by a total failure to assist a neighbor who needed medical help and the failure of PA to protect a citizen suffering from a stroke.

So what's "reasonable?" Someone is ill and begging for help, via a neighbor's kid, so they send out the calvary rather than medical help?

I had my own battles with PAPD when they sent the calvary to my home, because I was concerned about my late, mentally ill husband. They threw him on the driveway and broke his head open because he turned away and said "I don't have to talk to you." So much for the 5th Amendment and calling welfare checks.

I was just lucky that Lynne Johnsen was replaced by Dennis Burns over the years--he understood I wasn't a crackpot.

But the story of this woman's experience (and oh yeah, her husband "consented" to the search) reminds me, plus ca change. . . .


Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:55 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

Clearly, police officers need to be instructed and retrained periodically about medical vs. mental crises. Aphasia and seizures are clear neurological signs.

Also, dispatchers need to go down their checklists PERIOD, no deviations.

Apparently, PAPD staff need to read "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande, MD (Metropolitan Books, 2009) and keep copies on hand for quick reference as well.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2022 at 5:31 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Women are still 7 times more likely than men to be sent home from the hospital in the middle of a heart attack than men.
Web Link
Women are also more hesitant to go get help BECAUSE they aren't treated well unless it's easily apparent they are not "hysterical". Yes, we live yet today with enough of the misogyny of Victorian times that women's physical and mental health are put at risk every day.

Likewise, I would expect such a review to be tainted with even worse bias. If well-trained physicians, who are in medicine to help people, cannot help but behave in such an UNreasonable way relative to women, why would we expect such a report to be free of it? What training and research has been done by that office to prevent it?

How this woman was treated was wrong. Honestly, women deal with enough of this [email protected] already, including in life-threatening situations, including in our local medical offices and centers. I thought we were at least trying to be more enlightened than this. I hope our local 4th estate will do some due diligence on this issue. Women are at least half of the local population and deserve better than this (as does the victim here).


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2022 at 4:03 am

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Anybody who reads the report and is not outraged, just wait until it happens to you. Neurological anomalies can occur at any time, in anybody's brain, without warning. MINUTES count. The shorthand to teach how to assess the possibility of stroke is the acronym F.A.S.T. -- that stands for Face weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems = TIME to call doctor. Any of the three symptoms can mean danger, you don't have to have all three. "TIME" doesn't mean it's time for a dispatcher to make a guess, based on what a teenager says, as to how to go about getting help to the victim. In many cases, if you are having a stroke, MINUTES can make the difference as to whether you will survive the stroke, and/or how severely disabled you will be after delaying treatment. I guess she's "lucky" it was a tumor and not a stroke. I do not trust PAPD to get an ambulance soon enough, should I have a stroke. It sucks to be judged a mental patient first, if you can't talk right. Just so wrong on so many levels. Every one of those cops, and dispatchers, should be fired without collecting their golden parachutes.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 10, 2022 at 7:48 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Absolutely they should be fired without their ridiculous golden parachutes.

I've had two horrible experiences with the PAPD calvary and once was more than enough and I've said, "Never again. Just drive me to a hospital but don't ever call them again."

Where's the oversight and accountability??


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2022 at 2:38 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Online Name, the "accountability" is in the final report. Blame the victim for having a tumor, blame her teenage neighbor for having the audacity to give a teenager's assessment of what constitutes a mental breakdown, blame the rules for the cop not wearing body worn camera, blame the husband for letting the cops search her possessions without a warrant (wasting vital minutes), blame the dispatcher for "freelancing" (who decided to enter that word into the report? It's not like she was working on the side as a grocery clerk and took the call during her break), blame the paramedics for not having the courage to override poor judgment on the PAPD and go ahead and help the victim. Blame everybody except for the dispatcher who diagnosed a non-existent condition and withheld vital assistance in a timely manner. If the victim had died we would see even MORE victim-blaming. No responsibility. This is how the City operates. And it's a shame.


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