Dispatcher ‘Told a Panicked Mom To Get In a Car and Drive To The Hospital. Who Does That?’

FRAMINGHAM – A Framingham mom is still angry that a Framingham fire dispatcher told her it would be quicker for her to drive to the hospital than to send first responders to her house, when she called to say her baby boy was struggling to breathe and had blue lips.

Melissa (Framingham Source has chosen not to use her last name) said she and her husband discovered her baby boy, just 13 months old, with blue lips in his crib Wednesday morning. She said he was struggling to breathe.

She called 9-1-1 on her cell phone.

Mass State Police answered the cell phone 9-1-1 and transferred the call to the Framingham Fire Department, said Melissa. (That is protocol by the State Police to get the call routed to first responders in the community the 9-1-1 call originated from.)

“I told him my baby was struggling to breathe. I said his lips are blue,” said Melissa. “I never mentioned I was with my husband, but I mentioned I was home with my daughter, 3 1/2. He told me it was quicker to drive to the hospital.”

Framingham Fire and the Town of Framingham are investigating. The male dispatcher is on leave, at this time.

The dispatcher’s response was not proper protocol, nationally or in Framingham.

National EMT training recommends when a mother calls with a baby not breathing, the dispatcher should try to keep the mom calm, and walk her step by step on how to perform CPR. While that is happening, an ambulance and firefighters would be dispatched to the address.

Source first reported on the mishandled 9-1-1 call on Tuesday night.

Melissa said her husband drove the family to MetroWest Medical Center from their Saxonville home, near the Wayland line.

She said she was not sure how long it took them to arrive at MetroWest Medical, but she believes firefighters could have arrived at her home to help her son quicker, than it took her husband to drive across town to the hospital.

She said they were stuck in traffic, including construction on Union Avenue.

“I kept telling my husband to drive faster. He was driving fast. He was worried he was going to get in an accident. We both were so worried about our son. And, then we got stuck in traffic,” Melissa said. “I remember screaming at him (husband) to drive faster.”

“The dispatcher didn’t know he was home. Can you image a panicked mom, in a car, driving with her baby struggling to breathe and a 3 1/2 year old trying to get to the hospital for help? I don’t understand why he said this was best.”

Melissa said she called MetroWest Medical Center, while on route to the hospital to explain the situation.

She said when they arrived 7 people immediately came out of the ER to help her son.

“They were great. They don’t know why he was having trouble breathing. They did several tests,” said Melissa.

MetroWest Medical Center was able to help him breathe, but he was later transferred to Boston Medical Center in Boston, where he is now. He is in the ICU in stable condition, Melissa said.

“At first he was going to go Boston Children’s Hospital, but they had no space in the intensive care unit. So he is at Boston Medical,” said Melissa.

“I still don’t understand why he told us to drive to the hospital,” said Melissa. “He said it would be faster if we just drive. My son needed help. This was so traumatic for us.”

Melissa said her son needed severe respiratory assistance.

“He was conscious, but was not responding to anything,” said Melissa.

She said they are still doing tests. She doesn’t know when he will go home.

“He’s in ICU and his sister can’t even see him,” said Melissa.

Melissa is annoyed that “not one person from the Town of Framingham has contacted us.”

She said she is “extremely disappointed.”

“No one has reached out to me. No one from the Town has asked how our son is doing,” Melissa told Source last night via phone while leaving the hospital.


Wednesday night, Framingham Fire Chief Joseph Hicks told Source “Our thoughts and concerns are with the family and the baby.”

He said “We take this matter very seriously. We have already launched an investigation. I can not say anything else.”

When asked about the matter at Wednesday night’s Framingham Town Meeting, Framingham Selectmen Chair Cheryl Tully Stoll said “I can not comment on a personnel matter, but my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and the baby involved.”

Framingham Source requested a copy of the 9-1-1 call, under the public records act, on Wednesday night.

Yesterday, the The Town of Framingham said it had received the request and would get back to Source with a response.

“I can’t believe they told us to get to the hospital ourselves,” asid Melissa. “He told a panicked mom to get in a car and drive to the hospital. Who does that?”

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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