An Orland Park woman went without oxygen for more than 17 minutes after an emergency dispatcher sent an ambulance to the wrong town, according to a lawsuit filed in Will County court.
Laurelyn Wagner-Pitts, 60, died after her family decided to take her off a ventilator in August, the suit said. Emergency care physicians determined Wagner-Pitts had suffered cardiac arrest.
On July 30, Pitts was asleep in bed when her husband, Randy Pitts, noticed she was “making funny noises and ‘had a look on her face’” shortly before 5 a.m., the suit said.
Pitts called 911 and was “automatically routed” to the Western Will County Communication Center, according to the lawsuit. Pitts then allegedly told the dispatcher his “wife was having trouble breathing and possibly having a stroke.”
“The dispatcher said she would send out an ambulance and attempted to place the address” on Lakeview Trail in Homer Glen, “which is the address that appeared on the computer-aided dispatch” system, the suit said, even though Pitts had told the dispatcher he lived on Lake View Court — which is in Orland Park — “almost immediately after the call was picked up.”
Pitts told the dispatcher he would stay on the line while he waited at his front door for the ambulance but “returned to his wife’s side and advised the dispatcher that his wife was gasping for air and still awake but was unresponsive,” the lawsuit said. “He asked them to hurry.”
hen the dispatcher said the ambulance was on its way, repeated the wrong address and asked if it was off 159th Street, Pitts again told her that he lived in Orland Park, the suit said.
“The 911 operator realized she had dispatched the wrong department, which was much further away from the Orland Park address than other departments,” the suit said. “The Homer Fire department had reached” Lakeview Trail “but could not find the home. The ambulance was canceled by dispatch.”
An ambulance from Northwest Homer Fire was then sent. That ambulance was only three minutes away, the suit said, but it had already been 10 minutes from the time of the 911 call, and Wagner-Pitts had stopped breathing.
When paramedics finally arrived, they “failed to use an automatic external defibrillator” on her, the suit said, and by the time she arrived and was first attended to at Silver Cross Hospital, it was a full 49 minutes after her husband called 911.
Two of Wagner-Pitts’ sons, Matthew and Eric Schlottman, are suing Western Will County Communications and the Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District.