Bixby Dad Says EMSA Delay Endangered Toddler's Life


Friday, June 5th 2015, 11:13 pm
By: News On 6


A toddler stopped breathing at a Tulsa park, but EMSA didn't classify it a top priority. The Bixby boy's dad said EMSA's 911 call priority system is broken.

Micheal Scalf was a paramedic and his wife is an ER nurse. He said he understands people who work at EMSA want to do their best to save lives, but he said the system failed his family, and he's just thankful his son is alive.

At 3 years old, Grant Scalf doesn't have a care in the world. He and his dad, Micheal, play at Hunter Park all the time.

Wednesday, they splashed around then hit the playground; Grant was soaking wet when he decided to come down the slide and bumped his head.

"I looked at him. His eyes had rolled back into his head. He stopped breathing," Micheal recalled.

Grant was blue as parents gathered around while Micheal started CPR. One of the parents dialed 911, and they waited.

"I said, 'Guys, is it just me, or has it been a really long time?' And they all said, 'It's been a long time, what's going on,'" Micheal said.

This time, as Grant was now breathing and crying, Micheal called 911.

"She said, 'I can't tell you how far away they, are I can only tell you where they were when they started,'" he said.

Fifteen minutes after the first call Micheal was ready to load Grant into a stranger's car to get him to a hospital; that's when EMSA showed up without a siren or flashing lights and no firefighters following behind.

EMSA said Grant's case was classified Priority 2, non-life threatening. Calls are only classified Priority 1 when a patient isn't breathing or doesn't have a pulse.

EMSA responds in 11 minutes for Priority 1 and in 25 minutes for Priority 2.

"My concern here is that a 3-year-old not breathing on the playground could somehow warrant anything less than a full emergency Priority 1 response," Grant's father said.

Grant has a concussion, but, thankfully, he's a typical 3-year-old again. That 15-minute wait Wednesday night might have scarred his dad more than him.

“It's a lifetime. It seems way too long to me," he said.

Micheal believes the priority should have been upgraded after his second 911 call, but EMSA did not upgrade the priority.

We are not sure what was said, exactly, in the first 911 call, but Micheal said it was obvious he was doing CPR and his son was not breathing.