View Full Version : Pool Hall 911 call (sad)

01-13-2004, 01:22 PM
When Jim Wagner collapsed in a pool hall in Tennessee last July 9, somebody called 911. And then things went horribly, comically wrong.

The transcript of the 911 calls, printed in the January issue of Harper's magazine, reads like a "Saturday Night Live" skit written by Franz Kafka in a drunken collaboration with Samuel Beckett.

"I've got a person that's had a seizure or a heart attack," said the caller from the Billiards Club. "Passed out totally, having convulsions."

"All right," said the 911 operator at the Memphis Fire Department. "We're on our way."

But they weren't on their way. Instead, the 911 operator called the police department of the nearby town of Bartlett, where the pool hall seemed to be located.

"I don't think that's ours," said the Bartlett cop. "Try the county."

So 911 called the folks at Shelby County, who told him the convulsing man wasn't on their turf, he was in Bartlett.

So 911 called the Bartlett Fire Department. "We stop at the road right before that," said Bartlett Fire. "That's a Memphis call."

By this time, the original caller was calling again: "I'm still over here and I ain't seen no ambulance."

"Sir," asked 911, "are you in the city of Memphis or are you in Bartlett?"

"We're not in Bartlett," the caller said. "We're in the city of Memphis."

"Look, I'm trying to get you some help," said 911, "but right now I'm showing you're in Bartlett."

"I don't care," the caller shouted. "Get an ambulance out here. This dude's fixin' to die."

"Let me transfer you to Bartlett Fire," said 911.

When the transfer goes through, the caller said, "Would you please get an ambulance to the Billiards Club?"

"It's not ours," says Bartlett Fire.

By now, a woman was calling 911: "We are at the Billiards Club and -- "

"I've already been through this," the 911 operator replied. "It's not Memphis, it's Bartlett."

"No, it's not," the caller says. "We're in Memphis."

"Bartlett!" 911 insists.

"We're in Memphis," says the caller.

"Bartlett!" says 911.

Reading all this, while riding on the Metro, I had to fight off the urge to scream, "Stop arguing, you idiots, and send the damn ambulance!"

And ultimately, they did. "An ambulance picked Wagner up thirty minutes after the first call," Harper's reports, "and he died later at the hospital."

01-13-2004, 01:31 PM
Wow, I wouldn't want to have a major problem there. They ought to fire all of those irresponsible idiots.


01-13-2004, 04:30 PM
The really sad thing about this senario is, Memphis has one of the most respected emergency and trauma cetners in the WORLD.

I've played at Bartlett Billiards and there is an emergency med team just a few miles away.

I thought the entire purpose of 911 was to coordinate all the various departments (city, county and state) to get the quickest response available.