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Family reacts to 911 call after ambulance delay

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Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Family reacts to 911 call after ambulance delay

By Matt Grant. CREATED Jan 31, 2013

NAPLES - The 911 calls tell a terrifying tale as a Naples family waits for an ambulance they say was never called.

Chaz Minard, 25, died last month after going into cardiac arrest. According to his family, despite what a 911 operator told them, EMS officials admitted privately that paramedics were never dispatched to their home because of a mistake.

Chaz's father, Charles, says when they called 911 on Dec. 14 his son was alive and breathing.

"He's having a hard time breathing," Minard is heard saying on the 911 call.

"But his is breathing at this time, right?" the 911 operator said.

"Yeah," said Minard. "But he's gasping for air."

"He was breathing," Minard told Fox 4 after listening to the 911 call for the first time. "He was trying to live."

The Minard family listened to the six minute 911 call for the first time with Fox 4 Wednesday. In the recording, the operator tells Minard's wife three times that an ambulance is on the way.

"They're going as fast as they can," the operator said. "All these questions are going to help the ambulance."

But according to Minard, EMS officials admitted a "glitch" occurred and an ambulance was never notified or dispatched. Six minutes into the call, Minard's wife is heard saying: "The ambulance people are here. Oh my God....They're here."

It was actually firefighters and Collier County sheriff deputies.

"When you hung up the phone what did you expect to see?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Help," said Minard. "Paramedics."

Minard says paramedics wouldn't arrive for another six minutes. And that's only because medics at a nearby station heard the call over the radio and dispatched themselves, he said.

It took 12 minutes for the ambulance to arrive at their home and another 10 minutes for paramedics to put Chaz in the ambulance, according to Minard. Records show Chaz had no pulse, was unconscious and not breathing when firefighters arrived. His pulse was restarted in the ambulance.

Chaz was taken off life support and died on Dec. 21.

"I'm sorry Chazzy," said Minard, crying after hearing the 911 tape. "I'm sorry Chazzy."

Doctors say in emergencies like this every second counts.

"When someone's in critical condition they need to go to the hospital as soon as possible," said Dr. Amy Wecker with Internal Medicine Associates. "In a life or death situation those extra minutes can make a big difference."

EMS officials told Fox 4 last week they didn't "know the details of exactly what happened yet" but that they were investigating. We were told those details would be available last Friday.

That was pushed back to Wednesday, according to Minard, who says he is still waiting for answers.

"I don't think what we're asking for right now is a whole lot," said Minard. "I just want to know what happened to my son. And why they couldn't be there when they needed to be. I don't think that's so much to ask."

Fox 4 called and emailed EMS Chief Walter Kopka Tuesday and Wednesday. Our calls were not returned.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com