911 delays during Fourth of July holiday resulted in newborn’s death, family says

Credit: Sean Gallup

Credit: Sean Gallup

A mother in Omaha, Nebraska, said that her newborn died after her calls to 911 for help went unanswered.

Joanna Coddington told KETV she called 911 three times after delivering her baby girl at home on July 5, three months before her due date.

>> Read more trending news

Coddington and her mother said they tried to call 911 for over 15 minutes from several phones, but kept getting a busy signal, KETV reports.

They raced the child to the hospital, where the baby later died.

"Nobody knows what the possibilities are if 911 could have came. But the end result is the same and that's that Baby Angel isn't with us," said Coddington's mother, Theresa Kerby.

Douglas County 911 director Dave Sleeter told KETV that emergency dispatchers were tied up with people complaining about fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

He said that 434 fireworks complaints were reported on July 5, compared to 171 on the same day last year.

“The next day, I learned it was mostly fireworks calls. Non-emergencies. That just infuriated me, because real emergencies, of life and death, were not able to get through. All because someone’s sleep was inconvenienced,” said Kerby.

Sleeter said that the dispatch center is reviewing this incident and is considering setting up a non-emergency number for the public.

About the Author