Dispatch Error Leads to Wrongful Death Suit in Illinois

The family of a woman who died last summer when an ambulance was dispatched to the wrong address, has filed suit against the dispatch center and an Illinois fire department.

Laurelyn Wagner-Pitts, 60, suffered a cardiac arrest on July 30, 2016. Her husband, Randy Pitts, called 911 and requested an ambulance from the Western Will County Communication Center. The dispatcher had some difficulty with the address and initially sent an ambulance from the Homer Fire Department to a different location.

Approximately 10 minutes later the mistake was realized and an ambulance from the Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District was dispatched. By the time it arrived, Wagner-Pitts had been without oxygen for an estimated 17 minutes. She passed away in August when her family took her off a ventilator.

The suit was filed by Wagner-Pitts’s two sons, Matthew and Eric Schlottman. It names the Western Will County Communication Center and Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District as defendants. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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