911 Operator Saves Her Father's Life -- Her First Day On The Job

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First day on the job -- always tough. What if your responsibilities as a new 911 operator involved situations literally about life and death? And what if, after months of training, one of your first calls had a familiar voice on the other end? An aunt who was watching her brother - your father - slip into deadly diabetic shock?

Forget the "In a world..." opening of a summer blockbuster's trailer. This was real, and Crystal Morrow, a rookie 911 operator, had just minutes to save the life of her dad, according to WAGA-TV and sister radio station WYAY.

Morrow was fresh off extensive training and had already answered about 40 calls in the first four hours of her inaugural shift: a burglary here, a house fire there. Then the phone rang and she automatically answered, "Dekalb 911 emergency, what is the address of the emergency," as WYAY reported.

The voice on the other end was...familiar. Could it be? "I heard her voice and saw her name pop up on the screen," Morrow said. "It was my aunt."

Morrow's father had gone into diabetic shock, or severe hypoglycemia - low blood sugar - as health information site WebMD explains. Insulin levels rise quickly. Without quick proper treatment, the person can slide into a coma and die.

With her training, to say nothing of family experience, Morrow knew the stakes. "I did freeze, my hands froze over the keyboard, but I knew I had to get the call in," she told WYAY. Inside she panicked but forced herself to remain calm on the call:

I will get the paramedics started. Are you with him now?" Morrow asked.

"Yes I am," her aunt answered.

"And is he awake?"

"Yes he is."

"I'm sending the paramedics to help you now. Stay on the line and I will tell you exactly what to do next."


Her aunt had no idea who was walking her through the critical next steps while paramedics were on their way.

As unusual as the situation might seem, another 911 operator, Danielle Harvey, who also trained Morrow, said that all staff are trained from day one on the possibility that they may receive a call from a family member.

"She handled it well," Harvey told WYAY. "She took the entire call. She got up after it was over and went out. So I checked on her and told her to go see about her family."

Morrow credits Harvey with getting her through training and preparing for the sort of phone call no one ever wants to receive.

Those who would like to give a vote of thanks to Harvey for her training skills can literally give her a vote. She's a finalist for a national professional award which includes a plaque and a $1,000 donation to the charity of the winner's choice.
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