The New York City Council is investigating claims that its $2 billion 911 emergency response system is flawed following a delay which may have contributed to the death of a four-year-old girl. At a hearing today, different city agencies were pointing fingers at each other after the tragedy, according to the Associated Press and ABC News. The deputy mayor and fire commissioner claim the system worked but human error caused the delay. Meanwhile, dispatch officials blamed a computer glitch related to system updates.

The entire 911 system is in the process of being upgraded, which has been ongoing since 2004. Dispatchers say that when a particular portion of the system is being upgraded, their computers can freeze, costing precious time during emergencies. Proponents of the upgrade plan claim that response times are faster than ever due to the updates to the 30-year old matrix. However, if it resulted in this delay, it may also have cost a little girl a chance at survival.

Ariel Russo was struck by an unlicensed teen driver who was being chased by police earlier this month. Due to problems with 911, medical responders did not reach the girl for an extra four minutes. This small but unnecessary delay might have been the difference between life and death, according to the article. The council is trying to determine whether it was a computer problem that may occur again, or human error that must be guarded against in the future.

Why would you call an attorney if you were injured and 911 did not respond quickly to your call? The reason is that there are times when a few minutes would have made all the difference in the world. To learn more, I encourage you to pick up the phone and call if you have legal questions about what happened to your and your family here in New York.

You can reach me at 516-487-8207 or by email: [email protected]. I welcome your questions.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer