Listen: Cleveland woman hit with criminal charge because of these 911 calls
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) -- The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained the recordings that led to a Cleveland woman getting hit with a criminal charge for misusing the 9-1-1 system.
A police report shows the woman called 9-1-1 for an ambulance last week for the 9th time in 8 days. The report also says she's called 22 times since January.
In the latest case, one recording has the woman saying, "I'm having trouble breathing." And a police report shows, the woman complained her stomach was grumbling, and she just wanted to see paramedics again.
The recordings also show an EMS dispatcher calling police to send a car on the call. "She's literally abusing the system. And we are out there habitually a few times a day, at least, transporting her. There's nothing wrong with her most of the time." And that dispatcher added, "We have people that really need ambulances in here."
The woman lives about a block away from the ER for MetroHealth Medical Center. We tried to reach her for this story, and a man at her apartment complex told us she wasn't around. "She just went somewhere in an ambulance," he said.
Cleveland officials stress, if you think you might need an ambulance, you should call right away.
But paramedics often get swamped trying to keep up with their calls. And going to a call, treating a patient, then travelling to a hospital can tie up a crew for an hour. So there's not much patience for someone abusing the system.
The woman is facing a charge of Making False Alarms. She could face up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000 fine.
The I TEAM found these cases are rare. According to the Cleveland Clerk of Courts office, there were just 3 of these cases each in 2014 and last year. This is only the second one this year so far.
Meantime, the EMS Commissioner is doing an internal investigation to make absolutely sure this latest case was an abuse of the system that should have been referred to police. As a result, we are not naming the suspect yet.