Dispatch Delay Led to Woman’s Death, Lawsuit Alleges

The death of a 41-year-old nurse and mother just outside Kansas City, Missouri, but across the state line in Kansas, has prompted a wrongful death lawsuit against the Kansas City Police and Fire Departments, according to KCTV5.

Cathryn McClelland passed out in her home in Prairie Village, Kansas. Her 8-year-old son called 911, but the call was routed to KCMO, not Johnson County, Kansas. It took KCMO dispatchers roughly 10 minutes to route the call to Johnson County who responded promptly. While McClelland’s heartbeat was restored, she suffered irreversible brain damage. Her family took her off life-support on July 22, 2019, and her organs were donated.

KCTV5 reports that a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed, but I have been unable to independently verify that, nor obtain a copy of the complaint.

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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