WASHINGTON - A D.C. mother was forced to drive her 2-year-old son to the hospital after the ambulance she called for never showed up.
Paulette Liverpool’s son, Kodi, was suffering from an asthma attack when she called 911 at 3:50 p.m. Saturday. She waited helplessly for the ambulance to arrive and even asked for help from a neighbor. But after more than 20 minutes of anxious waiting, her neighbor told her to grab her son and head to the hospital themselves.
According to Alan Etter, spokesperson for D.C.’s Office of Unified Communications, there was a mistake made by the 911 dispatcher inputting the address as Galveston Place instead of Galveston Street.
But Liverpool explained to us, “I said, ‘No, it's Galveston Street. She did say ‘Place’ to me, but I said, ‘No, it's Galveston Street.' I corrected her.”
But in the audio of the dispatch call to the first responders at that time, a person is heard saying: “Medic Local Paramedic Engine 33, Medic 32 respond. Two-year-old male trouble breathing. Number 58 Galveston Place, Southwest. Cross street – Forrester Street.”
We asked Etter if the dispatcher ever called Liverpool back to double check on the correct address.
“Not to my knowledge,” Etter responded.
We also asked him if that is part of protocol.
“I think there was a high level of confidence that the correct address was recorded on behalf of the call taker,” said Etter.
The Office of Unified Communications admits the mistake was on their agency and not on the responding crews.
“We are not assessing blame on anyone but ourselves in this case,” Etter said.
Etter said the dispatcher should have kept Liverpool on the line.
"What we try to do is stay on the call until helps gets there,” he said. “That did not happen in this case.”
The Office of Unified Communications has confirmed there is an investigation underway into how the call was handled.
“We made a mistake and we regret the mistake and we are taking the proper steps to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen anymore,” Etter told FOX 5.
However, he would not elaborate on what corrective action has taken place or if the dispatcher is facing discipline citing private personnel matters.
In the meantime, Liverpool still wants answers and wants to be assured that what happened to her will not happen to someone else.
"I don't like to think the worse, but somebody has to be accountable for that,” the concerned mother said. “It's not like I'm trying to cause this big chaos. I'm just curious as a mother. I love my kids to death. What happened to that call? Nobody even called to say that we are all at the wrong place. Nobody called back at all.”