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Investigation follows death after 911 call

5:38 AM, Apr 6, 2007   |    comments
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Land O' Lakes, Florida - Emergency personal try to respond within 4 to 8 minutes when a 911 call comes in. But when Nancy McGhee was choking on a piece of meat, there were problems as her boyfriend talked to 911 operator Jenny Montanino.

In a preliminary police report McGhee's boyfriend said he was on the phone with 911. The operator was trying to instruct him on how to apply the Heimlich Maneuver, but was unsuccessful.

Sources say Montanino, who wasn't familiar with giving Heimlich instructions over the phone, asked for help but couldn't get any.

Eventually paramedics made it to the home a full 11 minutes after the call came in. By the time they got inside, Nancy McGhee was on the floor, covered with a sheet and was dead.

McGhee's mother, Martha Callahan says that's a heck of a way to run a 911 department.

McGhee's mother is also stunned by the fact there is a volunteer rescue department 5 miles from the home and a Pasco rescue station 7.6 miles away and they couldn't get there in time.

The incident has resulted in a letter from the supervisor on duty Dave Cook saying this is to notify you that I will be taking an early retirement.

Cook has also had problems with past evaluations, which include:"He doesn't accept criticism well";" sometimes can be short with public";" contact with public tests his patience"; "problems with subordinates on his shift."

And there is the problem about Cook sleeping on the job. He was recently disciplined for that. Cook received a written reprimand saying "Sleeping on the duty does not set an appropriate example and cannot continue.

However Pasco County did not include the reprimand in his personnel file and only gave it to us after we told the county we knew it existed.

In addition to Cook, the Fire Department is looking into everything that happened during the time the call came in on Nancy McGhee.

Here are the two issues that Pasco is looking at, first did the 911 operator who took the call as for help and not receive any and secondly why did it take so long to get emergency personnel to the home.

There are allegations that the closest units were sent someplace else and no contingency plans were made. The fire department won't talk, won't let any one speak and refuses to release the 911 tape.

Mike Deeson,Tampa Bay's 10 News

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