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Asthma sufferer praises 119 for helping her through attack

Published:Tuesday | February 2, 2016 | 12:00 AM

A university student who suffered an asthma attack last Friday evening while in traffic on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston is expressing gratitude for assistance she received over the phone from a responder at the police emergency communication centre during her ordeal.

The student, who requested anonymity, told The Gleaner that the incident was a very tough experience, especially after having made about three calls to the police emergency communication centre without getting through.

Female responder

However, she said that on her fourth attempt, a female responder picked up.

"I was in traffic, and Friday traffic is really bad from about 4 o'clock. It's horrible in Half-Way Tree, and I was having an asthma attack. It's the worst asthma attack that I've ever had, I could not breathe and the rain was falling and traffic was horrible, so I just tried to call 119 and I called about three times, and when somebody came on the phone, the call just dropped," she said.

"I'm not sure if they're used to prank calls or whatever, but I just realised that the calls kept dropping, and I think it was the third or fourth time I called before someone picked up and she was very comforting, just trying to get someone to me as soon as possible."

The student managed to drive herself to Andrews Memorial Hospital on Hope Road in St Andrew, where she was immediately assisted from her car by a man who then put her in a wheelchair and took her inside for medical attention.

Head of the police emergency communication centre, Superintendent Gary Francis, told The Gleaner he was aware of Friday's incident and said the dropped calls the student mentioned could have resulted from a technological glitch.