“No…now, see, Mr, Sanchez, this is NOT how we would like you to react with a 911 caller. Let’s try it again…”
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: watch out for touchy 911 dispatchers.
Seventeen-year-old Esperanza Quintero called 911 after her friend Jaydon Chavez-Silver was shot last month. She tried to stop Chavez-Silver’s bleeding and gave him CPR.
“I am keeping him alive!” Quintero is heard saying on the 911 call, which was answered by dispatcher Matthew Sanchez, a ten-year veteran of the Albuquerque Fire Department.
Sanchez asked, “Is he not breathing?”
The teen responded, “Barely!”
On the recording, she can be heard frantically encouraging Chavez-Silver to keep breathing.
“One more breath! One more breath!” Quintero told here wounded friend. “There you go Jaydon. One more breath! There you go Jaydon. Good job! Just stay with me, OK? OK?”
Sanchez then asked again, “Is he breathing?”
Quintero responded, “He is barely breathing, how many times do I have to fucking tell you?”
Apparently this outburst deeply, deeply offended Sanchez, who felt that the use of the vulgarity justified him leaving the panicked teen to deal with her dying friend by herself. “OK, you know what ma’am? You can deal with it yourself. I am not going to deal with this, OK?” the dispatcher said, and he disconnected Quintero as she pleaded for help.
As you know, I’m a big fan of civility, and we really should discipline ourselves and our children to avoid profanity and vulgarity in dealings with others, in the workplace or anywhere else. Mutual respect is a cornerstone of ethical conduct generally, and civility is how we recognize the inherent respect we owe every fellow citizen. Having one’s friend dying in front of you is a stressful situation, however, and I think the collective effects for fear, panic, desperation and stress creates sufficient adverse influences on a teen that a lapse of decorum should be excused or at least tolerated, don’t you? Particularly when the listener is allegedly an adult and trained rescue personnel?
Jaydon died. A rescue squad was dispatched before the hang-up, which only means that what Sanchez did could have been worse.
Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey called the actions of dispatcher Matthew Sanchez on June 26 “unforgivable” and said Sanchez, who had the sense to resign, at least, should not have hung up on the caller. Downey says he is examining the training procedures.
Good analysis. We can all stop worrying now, at least those of us in Albuquerque.
And we should be grateful, should we not, for Mr. Sanchez providing a superb lesson to all of our young people about the important of avoiding potty mouth?