WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 03, 2011, 08:26 AM

Software used in an emergency is questioned after close-call

Rollag, ND (WDAY TV) - We trust emergency responders to be at our side quickly as possible, but an incident at a Rollag church has some questioning the software used in an emergency. An emergency call from the church left the pastor being questioned if he was giving the correct address.

Don Anderson lies motionless in a Sanford hospital bed. A week and a half ago, he was cleaning up after a church dinner, when he fell down the stairs.

KAY ANDERSON - Caring for Husband: "We presume that his knee caught, which happens, he's got football knees."

His wife Kay says the blow knocked him out, he started bleeding from his head and ears and he's on blood thinners. A week and a half later, the blood stain still remains.

KAY ANDERSON - Caring for Husband: "This is serious we can't stop the bleeding we need help immediately."

A bystander immediately called 911.

PASTOR JIM GREENE - Rollag Lutheran Church: "Corey was on the phone and he goes what's our address? And I told him the address and he says that's not the address they have, well this is the address we have."

KAY ANDERSON - Caring for Husband: "I could tell there was a real issue that the ambulance didn't know how to find us, and that's not a comfortable feeling when you think your husbands bleeding to death."

People with Red River Dispatch say the telephone companies upload all addresses to a server and the dispatch center then downloads it.

PASTOR JIM GREENE - Rollag Lutheran Church: "In the phone book it's correct."

Luckily for Don and Kay the church is right in Rollag, making it easy to direct the ambulance to. While Kay waits for her husband to wake, she says it's impossible not to think what a little error in the system could've cost her.

KAY ANDERSON - Caring for Husband: "In Don's case, I don't know if a minute or two made a difference in saving his life. He's in very serious condition now as it is, but for someone else it could be a fatal error."

People from dispatch say there isn't an error in the system, saying something like this is rare, but the problem does come up. They did contact the phone company, and immediately got it switched.

You can call the non emergent line to find out if dispatch has your correct address. That number 451-7660. So what is Don's prognosis after the fall? Kay says he has a serious head injury, he's not in a coma or unconscious, but not coming around like they hoped.