Los Angeles Fire Department dispatchers waste valuable time getting 911 callers to start CPR on cardiac arrest victims, often beginning the life-saving procedure after the point at which brain death begins, according to an internal study obtained by The Times.
The study raised particular concerns about time-consuming scripted questions dispatchers are required to ask, including one that forces frantic and confused callers to make difficult judgments about a victim's breathing. LAFD call handlers must work through a series of pre-written questions and responses before they can give CPR instructions and dispatch rescue units, which can add to delays, the report says.
In one 911 call highlighted in the report, a dispatcher asks a caller five times whether a patient in cardiac arrest is breathing. More than a minute and 18 seconds into the call, the dispatcher still is trying to clarify the patient's condition, prompting the caller to inquire: "Are the paramedics on their way?"
Read more at the LA Times