Dispatcher helps save Florida man

February 24, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - It's not every day that Berkeley County 911 dispatcher Keena Most gets to send an ambulance to Naples, Fla.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, Most received a 911 call from a woman who asked the dispatcher if she could send an ambulance anywhere in the country.

In a way, Most could.

The Martinsburg woman told the dispatcher that she had been on the telephone long-distance with a man in Naples, Fla.

She believed the man was going into a diabetic coma, because it had happened to him before and similar symptoms such as the slurring of words were noticeable while she had been on the telephone with him, Most said.


Most, a dispatcher for nearly 10 years, got the information and sent an emergency teletype to the police department in Naples, Fla.

The police department there contacted the nearest emergency dispatch and sent an ambulance to the man's home.

The man was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, where he is believed to be doing well, Most said.

If the woman had not called an ambulance for her friend, the man may have passed out and been unable to call for help himself, she said.

While working on the call, a sheriff's deputy radioed in to have a license tag checked, Most said.

"When the other dispatcher told him we were busy sending a teletype for a call in Florida, the deputy said he would volunteer to take that call," Most said.

Most said she's handled many unusual calls over the years, but this was the first time she ever had to dispatch an ambulance so far away.

Occasionally, cellular telephone calls from across West Virginia end up at the Berkeley County dispatch center by mistake, she said. Those calls are easily handled and sent to the correct dispatch center.

One such call came from Bingo Hollow, she said.

"I thought, `Where in the world is Bingo Hollow?' It turns out it's in Fayette County," Most said.

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