Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Pittsburgh officials say they are changing how emergency calls are handled after a man died in his home during a snow storm while waiting for an ambulance despite repeated 9-1-1 calls. Public safety Director Michael Huss apologized to relatives of 50 year old Curtis Mitchell of Hazelwood. Mitchell and his wife, Sharon Edge, started calling 9-1-1 Friday February 5 when a storm dumped 21 inches of snow on the city. But the ambulance could not make it to their home due to the heavy snow. Edge says emergency workers asked the couple if they could walk four blocks to reach the ambulance but he was in too much pain. So the 9-1-1 operator canceled the dispatch. Mitchell died Sunday morning February 7. Huss called the handling of the situation "unacceptable." He said EMS protocol is going to change so that every call will now have a first responder arriving at the person's door.