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#171504 - 04/17/09 10:47 AM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: scafool]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Well, certainly, the kid was in a bad situation. However, I dont think the responsibility lies with him, at all. Like it or not, most people are NOT responsible for themselves. Hence, we have systems like 911. This instance illustrates a total lack of empathy one the operators' part. I think there should be repercussions for everyone on that shift. Supervisors on down. It is simply unacceptable.
And, I apologize,but having a bad day simply doesnt wash with me. So, you didnt get your coffee the way you wanted, or got stuck in traffic, and, because of that, you are, essentially, a jerk, to someone in need of help? And the end result is he dies, becuase you're having a bad day? Good luck with that one in court.
Lack of empathy on the the operators' part, lack of understanding on the operators' part, and the lack of supervision are to blame for this situation. The lost kid, well, 911 is there for emergencies. This was an emergency. If you arent willing to treat EVERY SINGLE CALL that way, then you have no right being there. Sure, they get prank calls, or useless calls. But, remember this; they arent on the scene, nor are they going through the emotions that the caller may be. They are answering phones, and sending the authorities. This dispatch center, at least to me, made a judgement call they had no right to make; that is, to treat the call as a prank. And, for that, someone died. If these people are still employed, that is truly shameful. If I were a family member, I would be suing the department in question for wrongful death. There was no need for this to happen. Period.
And, true, they likely have a form to fill out on their screen. I have seen some of the software that 911 uses, so I have a passing familiarity with it. However, if something comes up that an operator cannot deal with, it should be escalated to a supervisor. When the kid said he was lost in the woods, and the operator kept asking for an address....the sup should've stepped in right there. Then, we likely wouldnt be having this discussion. But, the operator was argumentative (again, speculation based on the article), and the only thing that happened was a kid died. Failure of the system; NOT failure on the kids part to "be prepared". After all, I am sure alot, if not most (even all?) of us here have gotten ourselves into dire straights, but have come out OK, to some degree. Blaming the child for failing to be prepared isnt the issue here. The issue is the failure of the 911 center.
_________________________
my adventures

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#171519 - 04/17/09 01:15 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: oldsoldier]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Oldsoldier, I would agree with you totally about the fault of the operator, given the premise of the story as related to us. They did not do their job, and they are negligent in their duty, as well as most likely their supervisor would be. Based on the information provided to date, I find their actions reprehensible, and would argue that they deserve the full brunt of whatever the law allows as penitence.

However, I vehemently disagree with the exoneration of the kid. It was his actions directly that put his life in peril, and regardless of whatever came afterwards by others, he alone bears the fullest measure of fault for his demise. His culpability cannot be in question, nor can it be mitigated by the negligence of others, for his negligence is the primary cause, and his negligence fomented the entire calamity. His friends surely share in the blame as well, as I would suspect his parents ought to. By his own actions, he placed himself in the bad situation. No one else put him there, he did it of his own accord and under no duress, and if all other factors are reduced from this event, it still comes down to his choice of doing what he did that generates the cause.

That does not excuse the actions of any/everyone else involved in this tragedy. Likewise he cannot be any less culpable because of the failings of others. There is no indication in this story that the young man was in any way physically or mentally impaired, and he was of suitable age to at least have been able to reason on his own enough to realize the risks he was taking.

I would point a finger at everyone else involved because they survived, and because it brings to public attention the need for corrective action. However, wagging the finger itself is not enough.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#171530 - 04/17/09 03:38 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: benjammin]
JohnE Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
Isn't the death penalty enough for the kid involved? He made some mistakes, paid a pretty damned high price for them. The dispatchers made some mistakes, they're not paying any price yet...

Who has the higher standard of practice here, the 17 year old kid or the professionally trained dispatchers?

Ironically, there was an episode of Law and Order on last night in which the bad guy was ultimately brought down not for his actions but for his inactions. The character in this case was an RN, they're held to a higher standard, as are dispatchers, EMT's, Paramedics, Doctors, Veterinarians, etc.

All the finger pointing at the victim notwithstanding, all he did was get lost, the dispatchers apparently consciously failed at doing their job.

JohnE

_________________________
JohnE

"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen


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#171548 - 04/17/09 05:57 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: JohnE]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
"All the finger pointing at the victim notwithstanding, all he did was get lost, the dispatchers apparently consciously failed at doing their job."

I disagree, he did a number of things, up to and including perish, all of which began and ended with him and his actions. The actions/inactions of the rest compounded the errors he made, but it was his actions that instigated the event, and had he taken a different course of action from the start, none of what the others did/didn't do would've had any affect on the alternate outcome.

Also, it is incorrect to refer to him as a victim, the proper term would be perpetrator. The point isn't to punish him, but to make a point that the first person any of us should look to for the surety of our own welfare is ourselves. If we don't maintain adequate vigilence for our own preservation, we shouldn't have any expecation that others necessarily will. If we do our part, we should never have need of any outside assistance, save for some very unique and very rare situations.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#171559 - 04/17/09 07:20 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: benjammin]
barbakane Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Florida
I too find the actions of the operators absolutely unforgivable, but I'd like to point out something that really hasn't been mentioned. The fact that the young man accepted how he was being treated, as far as we can tell from the information given.
I work in a very dynamic industry where I deal with people face to face constantly, sometimes under not too pleasant situations. However, I'm always courteous and go out of my way to help people. However, when I'm dealing with someone over the phone and they don't give me the service I expect, I always talk to a supervisor, and if need be, THEIR supervisor. There is always someone higher on the food chain. I don't want to sound harsh or unsympathetic, believe me I would not wish that on anyone. But somehow we forget how to keep asking for what we want until we get it. My 5 year old son asks me 20 times a minute if he can have or do something, and if he doesn't get the answer he wants, he keeps asking.
I too am of the mindset that we should always be prepared when venturing out, overprepared should be more like it.
When I went down the Green River in Utah for ten days with my best friend, we were overprepared. We had too much food, water, medical gear, shelter, clothing, etc. But that trip, and another like it two years later, taught me how to be overprepared with less. Ask yourself...what's the worst that can happen, then prepare for that. What's the best that can happen, and prepare for that. Either way, your covered.
If I did my job as badly as these dispatchers did theirs, I'm sure I'd be brought up on charges of negligence, endangerment, and a myriad of others that I can't even fathom.
This is just another reason to carry a PLB, SPOT, or similar device.
_________________________
seeking to balance risk and reward
Audaces fortuna iuvat...fortune favors the bold
Practice methodical caution...Les Stroud

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#171562 - 04/17/09 07:38 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: barbakane]
JohnE Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
I'm simply floored...

So now the people getting lost and calling for help are perpetrators?

What crime are they committing or furthering?

Never mind, I don't want to continue this nonsense any further.

JohnE
_________________________
JohnE

"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen


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#171563 - 04/17/09 07:46 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: scafool]
Andrew_S Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 59
Originally Posted By: scafool
...I think it is wrong to be trying to blame the operators. It was not just one person ignoring procedures that did this.


Absolutely. Just based on what's in the story, we know that their procedures and training were poor, which is the responsibility of their managers. Their front-line supervision appears also to have been poor, which is the responsibility of their supervisors.

But how would you handle a blind caller who was unsure of his street address? Or a driver who was lost at the time of the incident he called about? Each operator's robotic inability to respond with something as simple as, "What was your last known location?" is surprising.

This is basic stuff. Regardless of training and procedures, you have to wonder what their thought process was.

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#171566 - 04/17/09 08:14 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: barbakane]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
The poor sucker was actually apologizing to the phone answerer that sentenced him to death. Kind of sad really.

Benjamin, most of us have read Ayn Rand, the bisexual Russian Princess, who along with Heinlein was one of the most popular presenters of your purely self interested greed based moral philosophy.
Try to keep in mind that no society that adopted this philosophy of yours ever survived it. If you look at it sanely you will realize how fundamentally antisocial the attitude you are presenting is, and that if it is followed it leads to the complete collapse of your government. In short it is the most antisocial and psychopathic philosophy ever devised.
Another interesting feature of it, the most vocal proponents of it are the first to cry for bailouts by the rest of us when it is their own oxe getting gored.

If your philosophy was followed, Benjamin we should do away with any form of government all together and revert back to the simple law of the jungle where the highest social function is the prey/predator relationship.
Even Chimps are more evolved than that, my friend.

Good luck protecting your property with no police and with constructing your own roads if you want to trade with others, because after all, if you get hijacked it is ultimately your own fault and there is no reason I should be forced pay for covering your sorry butt.

_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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