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Family Claims Comcast Let Grandma Bleed To Death On Thanksgiving

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 08:50 AM
Original message
Family Claims Comcast Let Grandma Bleed To Death On Thanksgiving
Edited on Sat Dec-04-10 08:53 AM by Ian David
Family Claims Comcast Let Grandma Bleed To Death On Thanksgiving
By Laura Northrup on October 28, 2010 8:00 AM

What happens when you have phone service through Comcast and you dial 0 for the operator in an emergency? A family in Florida claims that Comcast's negligence killed their grandmother. The elderly woman bled to death next to her phone while waiting for the Comcast operator and emergency services to figure out where she lived. Now they're suing Comcast.

The lawsuit alleges that last year, a panicked 81-year-old Florida grandmother dialed 0 after a freak crystal dish accident that left her bleeding heavily from her foot. By dialing 0, she reached Comcast's operator, who transferred the call to a police dispatcher. Unfortunately, the Comcast operator didn't have access to the caller's address information. While the operator and dispatcher figured out where she lived, then transferred her to emergency services and waited for help to arrive, the woman bled to death.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which obtained recordings of the woman's phone calls, tried dialing 0 from a Comcast phone. They were greeted with a prompt to press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, then to press 0 again for an emergency. They did not attempt to call 911 to see what information is available to dispatchers about Comcast customers who call 911 directly.

The recordings show that the woman was in such a state of agony and panic that she couldn't speak long enough to give her address.

More:
http://consumerist.com/2010/10/family-alleges-comcast-l...

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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
1. isn't it known that VOIP phone services didn't have the ability to find a person
like landline ones can? if she would have had life alert they may have found her. sad though... very sad that if they could have gotten to her she may be here today.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. When I set-up my Vonage account, they made sure they got an address for just that reason.
And then read me a five-minute long disclaimer on 911 service.

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Not Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Actually they do a pretty good job of linking address to EMS lines
Even with Magicjack, they have your address linked to the number.
The problem with VOIP is that if either your power or your cable is out, you are out of luck.
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Trekologer Donating Member (445 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Absolutely not
Most VoIP phone services provide true E911 where one's emergency calls are connected to the local PSAP (public service answering point--the 911 call center) through dedicated circuits and the caller's name and address will display on the dispatcher's computer screen, where equipped (despite it being 2010, not all PSAP's have such ability to view the caller's information), exactly like a conventional telephone service.

But the woman did not dial 911 and therefore all of the special handing for emergency services calls never happened. Instead, she dialed 0 to reach the operator (which isn't even the operator anymore, it just gets you general customer service). The lesson to be learned here is that it is vital that in an emergency, one dials 911, not the operator.

There is also a little more to the story that that in the OP and the linked article on the consumerist. The address was eventually found and emergency services reached the house about 16 minutes after the call. But when no one answered the door, they left.
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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. oh, i see! i didn't make that connection. why would you call the operator
instead of 911? why would you leave!! wtf!! i don't know how a lawsuit would go. doesn't sound like the phone company is necessarily at fault here.
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