Many 911 call centers are experiencing an abundance of calls they aren't equipped to handle due to staff shortages. One mom says when her daughter needed immediate medical attention for her daughter, she couldn't get through to a 911 dispatcher.
Ashley Bagwell is mom to 6-year-old Hadlee, who experienced a seizure and became unresponsive earlier this month. When Bagwell tried to call 911, no one responded. Her older daughter ran to their neighbor's house to try and get through to a 911 dispatcher from there—to no avail.
"I was terrified," Bagwell tells ABC News. "I remember just screaming, I just said, 'What do I do? I need them to talk me through what to do.' It was the scariest moment of my entire life."
Luckily, little Hadlee is doing well despite the delay in emergency response. But with 911 dispatcher shortages occurring nationwide, others may not be as lucky.
Like many other workplaces, COVID has played a major role in staffing shortages. So is burnout and low pay—something the pandemic has exacerbated.
Some states have created and passed legislation that categorizes 911 dispatchers as first responders in order to make them eligible for better wages and benefits.
Bagwell tells ABC she hopes no other parent has to experience the sheer terror of needing 911 when your child is experiencing a medical emergency.