In Uhmerica, 911 Operator Fuck-Up Costs Chinese Woman Her Life

AP reports:

An Arkansas 911 operator did not enter a call into a computer system that would have notified police and fire dispatchers of a mother and son trapped inside a vehicle in a pond, authorities said Wednesday. The woman died hours later, and her 5-year-old son was in critical condition Wednesday, police said.

The Little Rock operator who handled the call from 39-year-old Jinglei Yi has been placed on paid administrative leave while authorities try to figure out what happened. The operator has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Yi called 911 about 8 a.m. Monday after her vehicle hit a patch of ice, went over a curb and ended up in the pond, Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis said. A county dispatcher transferred the call to the 911 operator, who spoke with Yi briefly before hanging up and contacting an ambulance service.

An ambulance was dispatched a few minutes later to the west Little Rock pond, but police officers and firefighters weren’t dispatched until about a half-hour later — after the ambulance service called to verify that they were en route.

If Chinese media cared to report this in the same manner that some Western media occasionally reports Chinese stories of this ilk, here’s how it might look:

A Chinese woman has lost her life after an American emergency hotline operator bungled her call for help. America experts wonder whether the case — with all the customary trappings of negligence and laziness – is symptomatic of American decline.

That the operator is currently being paid to not work might be the clearest indictment of a system that has shown a disturbing tendency to reward carelessness and anti-intellectualism. The incident may also speak to America’s long, unfortunate history of strained relations, often characterized by violence, with immigrants and foreigners, as most clearly exemplified by Arizona SB 1070.

Here are what some American netizens said about the Arkansas incident:

Manly HAIf it was a couple having an argument they would have sent 20 cops with guns drawn.

Nameless Internet Guyi was once in a head on collision and police and firefighters showed up, but the ambulance didn’t. the police officer had to radio again for the ambulance. fortunately everything turned out okay, but it’s scary to think that mistakes like this sometimes happen.

DanWas the 911 call answered by customer service in India or have we not got that far yet.

JessepalAnd these are the people we are to depend on to send help when an intruder with a gun is after us? I think I’ll keep my gun-thanks anyway!

The final comment is a reference to President Barack Obama’s latest attempt to restrict the private ownership of assault weapons, a proposed law that American politicians actually oppose!

    14 Responses to “In Uhmerica, 911 Operator Fuck-Up Costs Chinese Woman Her Life”

    1. 阿江

      In response to what Dan asked, it’s actually not uncommon for 9-11 calls to get outsourced to contracting companies, or to neighboring areas in the states, although none that I know have been outsourced to India (directly).

      As for the forced paid leave this person received, unfortunately, it’s probably in place as a result of labor disputes between a union and the agency. Or, it may have been put in place as part of that state’s policy on government workers. Most benefits government workers receive, were due to the fact that they were actually used to match what was available to private sector employees back in the 1950s and 1960s.

      That aside, I know a veteran who got into a car accident 2 years ago. When the paramedics arrived, they wanted to send him to the hospital to get checked. When the veteran asked to be sent to the VA hospital, the paramedic changed his attitude, and came up with all sorts of excuses to not send him there. If the veteran went to a non-VA hospital to get checked up, the ambulance and medical bills would be pretty high. By sending the veteran to the hospital, the reimbursement amount would have been very minor (in other words, they could’ve gouged this veteran for more money, than they would have gotten in government reimbursements). In short: Medical care in America sucks.

    2. Big Pile O' Fragrant Roses

      “If Chinese media cared to report this in the same manner that some Western media occasionally reports Chinese stories of this ilk, here’s how it might look:”

      Didn’t we already have a topic to whine about racism/discrimination/boo-hoo? Would this news have even made it to this site if the victims hadn’t been Chinese?

    3. Oro Invictus

      This… This was not one of Tao’s better pieces. My guess? He probably read some nonsense commentator from the “West” (how I hate that gross oversimplification) saying something about some recent tragedy in the PRC (more specifically, I’m guessing the recent suicide bombing) and, in his annoyed state, whipped this up. Not the best move given the quality or content of the piece written, but understandable.

      Then again, maybe I’m talking bollocks and he was in a normal state of mind when he wrote this, I don’t know. Still, in my opinion, this is a dramatically poorer piece than most of Tao’s other work.

    4. Brian

      Personally, I thought it a mildly amusing piece of satire from someone who’s clearly at his wit’s end with the smug ‘ours doesn’t stink’ reporting of China that dominates in the US and European news outlets. Just because they’re every bit as superficial about everything else they report doesn’t mean everyone has to like it or pretend the guilty parties are all living Paul Foots.

      • Ick

        I’m not sure where you’re from and I’ll happily admit to not reading a great deal of American produced news but the papers from France, Britain and Germany tend to be fiercely critical of their ‘motherland’. Certainly the British press is perpetually filled with tenuously extrapolated stories about how such and such event proves the utter destitution of whatever aspect of society or government function is currently mode du jour. What you don’t tend to find however is ‘our schools, postal system is shit but so is that of China/Nepal/Angola. Simply because mentioning those places is as extraneous to the story as comparing China to a foreign country in every dispatch. If I wish to read an article about say coal mining in inner Mongolia I do not wish to have to have it compared to say 1920′s Wales or 1890′s Alsace Lorraine, even that might serve the interests of ‘false balance’ .

        • Brian

          There’s a world of difference between false balance and ignoring that the problem may have its roots in objective conditions rather than ideology. The subtext from e.g. Quentin Somerville’s BBC coverage of the 2009 Urumqi riots was blatantly partial to the extent that for the first 24 hours I thought it was Han rioting and killing Uighurs; a number of German outlets used wrongfully-attributed or edited images to make the facts fit the story.

          That they’re better in general than the Chinese media at publicising national and government failings isn’t the issue I felt this piece was pointing at. When it comes to China, their story is the same one time and again and it’s set in stone: “Communists Are Bad; China’s a hellhole; It can only be improved by becoming more like us”.

          • bag-o-dicks

            Four years ago some German shops published photos of muslims with the wrong name of the photographer? I guess Anthony’s post does make sense after all!

            • Ick

              One assumes Mr. Tao was having a ‘Bad American Media Day” much as the rest of us have “Bad China Days” and his tantrum was uploaded here rather than CCTV via an edited mobile phone video.

              re. Brian’s ““Communists Are Bad; China’s a hellhole; It can only be improved by becoming more like us” I think the first and last are generally present in much western European, Japanese, Korean and Continental American media reporting. However, is this not, when push comes to shove actualy true?

              The “Communists” are, by and large bad. I have married into them made friends among them done business with them. They are rarely pleasant, almost never ethical and never moral. I doubt a sane man would say the P.R.C. Bureaucracy would not benefit from becoming more like the Germans.

      • Big Pile O' Fragrant Roses

        Everone in America is shooting all day long and if you get shot 911 doesn’t help you. How come there are still people alive in the US of A? Explain yourself!


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