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New York woman dials 911; call for help ignored

Emergencies occur on a daily basis in New York. Luckily, dispatchers are available around the clock to keep an emergency from becoming a fatal accident. But what happens when an individual dials 911 and is ignored? A family from Queens is currently suffering through the anguish that goes with trying to get an answer to just that question.

Falling in the bathroom of her Queens apartment and unable to pick herself up, a 72-year-old woman called 911. This was back in January.

Despite explaining to the operator that she needed someone to pick her up, no one came. After lying alone on the floor, the woman died. A home aide finally found her body 36 hours later. Emergency assistance never made an appearance.

It was found that the frail woman had hit her head when she fell, and she apparently bled to death from the head injury.

The woman's family is now suing the city for wrongful death. They believe she would still be alive had she received the proper emergency assistance. In the suit, the city is accused of willful and reckless disregard for human life, as help was not sent, even though the correct phone number and address were given during the three-minute 911 call.

A promise was even made that help was on the way. And yet, she died alone.

Families in this kind of situation have every right to explore a civil suit. While no amount of money will ever replace the loss of a loved one, justice may help deliver some solace when another party's negligence is the cause of such an apparently wrongful death.

Source: WABC-TV, "Family sues after 911 call goes ignored," Sandra Bookman, May 14, 2012

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