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911 calls released in death of man whose neighbors reported stroke

Updated: Mar. 10, 2020 at 3:55 AM EDT
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COLLEGE HILL (FOX19) - A Cincinnati 911 call taker is accused of violating procedures during a call in January regarding man who ended up dying.

Now, the 911 calls related to the case have been released.

Several 911 calls made about Patrick Ward on Jan. 12 and Jan. 13.

Two neighbors called 911 at different times, meaning several call takers took the calls.

Only one of them is currently under investigation.

Previously | ‘He’s gonna die:’ City confirms man’s death after 911 call taker didn’t send help

The first call for help for Ward came from a concerned neighbor who was worried about Ward’s well being.

“I need to have a welfare check done on somebody please," the 911 caller said. “He’s got many, many ailments, and he’s been on oxygen now for a couple of years... You guys are our only hope."

The call taker ended the call by saying that an officer would check on Ward.

However, the neighbor called back later, fearing that Ward’s life remained in danger.

“He’s getting worse and worse," the caller said.

During that second call, Ward’s neighbor and the call taker who is now accused of neglecting duty went back and forth for about eight minutes:

911 Caller: “Ma’am, he’s had a stroke!”

Call Taker: “OK, sir, we can’t force ourselves on him. If he doesn’t want help, we can’t force ourselves on him.”

911 Caller: "So we gotta sit here and live with poop all over the floor, puke all over the floor, all over the walls."

The neighbor, seemingly growing more and more frantic, repeatedly urged the call taker to send help:

911 Caller: "Ma'am, he's gonna die here."

Call Taker: “OK, so that’s why I’m saying you need to sit there and talk to him and explain to him why he needs help, but they won’t do it if he keeps saying no. He has to agree to have help.”

911 Caller: "He won't do that."

Call Taker: “Well sir, then, unfortunately, there’s nothing the fire department or police officers can do. They can’t force themselves on him. Does he have a doctor?”

911 Caller: “So what can you do?”

The call abruptly ended with no one dispatched to Ward’s residence.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters reacted to the 911 calls being released Monday, telling us: "The 911 operator has no authority not to send help. Supervisors are the ones who make that call.”

The day after Ward died, another one of Ward’s neighbors called 911 to report it.

“Come up here and take this dead body up here at 607 Groesbeck. You wouldn’t come and help yesterday," the caller said. “He’s dead. He’s had a stroke. I told you he had a stroke.... This guy’s in there dead because the cops wouldn’t come yesterday.”

First responders then went to Ward’s complex and discovered he died, from a stroke, according to city officials.

One final 911 call related to Ward was made that day.

Neighbors wanted to know where they had taken Ward’s body.

“He was a Navy veteran, and that’s why we bonded, 'cause I’m a veteran too, and I just tried to help him out when I could. He was elderly and on oxygen and stuff," the 911 caller said. “He’s not suffering anymore, that’s one good thing about it.... The last four days of his life was not good, trust me.”

City Manager Patrick Duhaney alerted City Council and Mayor John Cranley about the situation last week.

It came just three days after FOX19 NOW asked about the case. We requested interviews with city and police officials as well as dozens of public records related to it, including all 911 calls, radio traffic and the call taker’s personnel file and discipline. We also have requested the employee’s job evaluations and annual reviews.

"What took place on the night of Jan. 12 is nothing short of a tragedy,” Duhaney wrote in an email to them March 2. “It’s unclear if the individual would have lived or died, but the actions of this call-taker undermined the possibility of a positive outcome in this situation.”

Some have said that the call taker should have known to send someone right away upon learning that someone was reportedly having a stroke.

That call taker remains suspended with pay while the investigation is underway.

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