Family: 911 call went unanswered as baby had seizure
A Massapequa couple says they called 911 during a medical emergency, but got a recording that said no one was available.
Bill and Diana Easteadt have two children, ages 4 and 1. On Saturday, their 1-year-old, Billy, had a low-grade fever. As he drank his bottle, the couple says he suddenly began to have a seizure.
His body twitched and his eyes rolled to the back of his head, and Diana Easteadt says she screamed for her husband's help. He came to her side, held the boy and told his wife to dial 911.
"I thought we were losing him. It was really scary," Bill Easteadt recalls.
Diana Easteadt called 911, but got a recording that said her call would be answered in the order in which it was received or when the next operator was available. Easteadt thought she dialed the wrong number so she tried again, but got the same message. "I didn't know what to do because that's the first place to call in an emergency... It was completely shocking."
She ran across the street to a neighbor's house for help, and they contacted the Massapequa Fire Department. The fire chief says they responded within three minutes and took the boy to Good Samaritan Hospital.
Even though their son is OK, the couple is looking now for answers. "I don't ever want to go through this, and I don't want anyone else to go through this," says Billy Easteadt. "There's no reason for anyone to be put on hold when they call 911."
According to Nassau police, about 97 percent of 911 calls are answered within 10 seconds, above the national standard of 90 percent.
In a statement, Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told News 12, "The investigation so far has shown that the staffing level was more than sufficient to handle the call volume Saturday. We ask residents to call 911, please do not hang up, even if they happen to be part of the 4 percent that are not picked up in the first 10 seconds."
Krumpter says there may have been a spike in calls to the 911 center at that particular time, causing the family to be put on hold.