FORT WORTH, TEXAS - A Fort Worth father is voicing his concern with the city's 911 service after he says an urgent call for his ill child went unanswered Friday night.
Dustin Shutler lives near Highway 170 in the north part of town.
Friday evening, he noticed his two-year-old son had a slight fever when he woke up from a nap. Within an hour, his condition went from bad to worse.
"I heard my wife yell my name. I could hear something in her voice something was wrong. I looked over and saw my two-year-old son slouched forward with his eyes shut," says Shutler.
The boy's temperature had suddenly spiked to over 104 degrees. What they didn't know then, was the boy had an infection.
While mom tried to cool him down, dad urgently dialed 911. And that is when the real agony began.
"Everything is going a million miles an hour. Phone rings, and rings and rings, maybe six or seven times, then I got a recording," says Dustin.
He said the phone then resumed ringing, but no one ever answered.
As the minutes ticked by, the couple finally put little Flint in the back of their car and hightailed it to the emergency room.
"I don't understand. You're always taught call 911, both for an ambulance and to get help on what to do," says Dustin.
When he called back on Saturday for an explanation, he says an operator flatly told him that Fridays are busy and it's not unusual for calls to go unanswered.
The city's 911 dispatch center, which is run by personnel from Fort Worth police, tells WFAA that this past Friday saw 60 incoming calls in the half hour window around Dustin's attempt.
In a statement, the department said at the same time Dustin's call was coming in, they were "...inundated with calls related to two vehicles traveling through the Montgomery Plaza area on W. 7th firing shots at each other. These vehicles eventually wrecked, and several people became involved in a large fight."
Police say nearly half of their 15 call takers were fielding 911 calls associated with the shooting.
The Montgomery Plaza area is filled with popular restaurants and bars. It also has some of the city's priciest loft apartments, and rarely sees violent crime.
Still, Dustin says he thinks a city the size of Fort Worth should be able to handle multiple calls. He thinks his experience is a wake up call.
"It just is concerning," he says. "I guess from now on, I'll make sure all of my emergencies don't happen on Friday nights."
Flint is out of the hospital and recovering at home. Dustin says he even suffered a febrile seizure due to his temperature and illness.
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