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9-1-1 Dispatcher Response Questioned In Woman’s Death

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV
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(credit: Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

(credit: Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

WBZ-TV's Beth Germano Beth Germano
Emmy award-winning Beth Germano is a general assignment reporter fo...
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MASHPEE (CBS) – Questions are being raised about a dispatcher’s response in Mashpee to a man trying to help his girlfriend choking on a marshmallow, who later died.

During a frantic 911 call on September 4 that lasted twelve minutes, Brent McFarland can be heard screaming his girlfriend Kate’s name, describing her condition and begging for help.

“I need an ambulance, my girlfriend’s choking,” he tells the dispatcher.

Then he becomes more desperate and blowing sounds can be heard as he tries to give CPR.

“Don’t do this to me Kate, don’t do this to me Kate,” he says over and over again.

“I’m trying to give her CPR but she’s not responding,” he tells the dispatcher.  “You’re trying to give her CPR? You said she was choking on something,” said the dispatcher employed by Barnstable County.

He’s told an ambulance from Mashpee fire and rescue is on the way.  But during the 12 minutes, McFarland is heard repeatedly asking for help, and says there was little response from the dispatcher.

An attorney for the town of Mashpee says the fire chief conducted an investigation, including interviewing the dispatchers on duty that night, and has concluded “all procedures and protocols were followed”.

Training of dispatchers is done by Barnstable county, and officials declined to provide details of a dispatcher’s responsibilities.

McFarland is also heard yelling to EMT’s who he claims were delayed in their arrival because of a lack of signs on his private road, and holds the town responsible.

According to records, EMT’s were dispatched 53 seconds after the call was placed, and took six and a half minutes to arrive on a stormy night in the midst of Hurricane Earl.

McFarland declined to comment to WBZ-TV, but plans to address a meeting of town officials on Monday night.

We are withholding the last name of the victim.

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