Missouri mother, 40, died as 911 dispatcher didn’t believe young son when he called for help, lawsuit claims

Cathryn McClelland's eight-year-old son immediately dialed 911 after his mother collapsed at home but delay in help led to her death, teh suit claims


                            Missouri mother, 40, died as 911 dispatcher didn’t believe young son when he called for help, lawsuit claims
(GoFundMe)

A mother from Missouri allegedly died last year because 911 dispatchers did not believe her young son when he called begging for assistance, according to a new lawsuit. The mother, identified as 40-year-old Cathryn McClelland, died in Kansas City on July 22, 2019. 

Shortly after McClelland's death, her family filed a lawsuit alleging that some blunders committed by emergency services led to the 40-year-old's demise. McClelland, a mother-of-two, reportedly fell ill the morning of her death before going to work. She wanted to drive to the hospital and called her sister to meet her and the children at the emergency room. However, before she could leave for the hospital, she collapsed at home and became unresponsive.

McClelland's brave eight-year-old son immediately dialed 911 asking for help and calmed his three-year-old sister as they waited for emergency first responders. According to the lawsuit, the child gave the authorities the correct address within one minute and 11 seconds. The suit also alleged that the dispatchers did not believe the child and asked him to go outside and check the house number or to find a mail with the house address on it. 

The boy had initially given an incorrect address, however, he quickly corrected himself and gave the authorities the correct information, according to KCTV. The McClelland family lawyer has alleged that despite getting the address, the dispatch team did not send an ambulance at home. It is not yet clear whether the dispatchers' blunder was dependent on them not believing the child. The family attorneys said that the delay resulted in a delay of vital ten minutes which could have saved McClelland's life.

The mother-of-two died at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission hospital after suffering a heart attack. McClelland, a nurse, was surrounded by her family and loved ones when she passed away.

A GoFundMe page set up for the family, which has raised $13,000 stated: "Cathy McClelland was getting ready to go to work Thursday morning. She wasn't feeling well and had called her sister to meet her and the kids at the emergency room.  Unfortunately, Cathy suddenly collapsed and became unresponsive.  Her brave 8-year-old son called 911 and calmed his 3-year-old sister while waiting for EMS. CPR was initiated, and she was quickly transported to AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. Tragically, despite every effort made and compassionate care, on Monday, July 22nd Cathy passed from sudden cardiac arrest with unknown cause.  She was surrounded by immediate and extended family, many, many friends, and loved ones. She and her husband Frank have been married for 12 years and have 2 amazing children together, Joel and Amelia. As a family, they loved traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends."

McClelland had worked in post-surgical units at Stormont-Vail and Lawrence Memorial Hospitals in Kansas. McClelland's obituary stated that she was recently employed as a nurse by Children's Mercy Hospital in their Ortho Outpatient Clinic. "Helping others was who Cathy was in life and in death," her obituary read. "She was a registered organ donor and upon her death, she was able to give at least six people the gift of a longer and better quality of life. She is our true hero."

The woman is survived by her husband and two children. Her family is now suing Kansas City, Kansas City’s fire and police departments, and the Board of Police Commissioners, and are seeking damages. People named in the lawsuit, however, have not commented on the case yet. 

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