During a major snowstorm, after nearly 30 hours of trying to get help, Curtis Mitchell died. This was after 10 calls to 911, four 911 calls to his home and at least a dozen calls between 911 and paramedics.
Pittsburgh officials have ordered an investigation and reforms of the city's emergency services system as Mitchell's case highlighted key shortcomings:None of this, of course, will bring him back, but perhaps other lives may be saved as a result. Paramedics have been ordered to always get to the person's door, no matter how. Despite the heavy snow, if they had walked to the house, he might be alive today.
— Details of Mitchell's calls weren't passed on from one 911 operator to another as shifts changed, so each call was treated as a new incident.
— Twice, ambulances were as close as a quarter-mile from Mitchell's home but drivers said deep snow prevented the vehicles from crossing a small bridge over railroad tracks to reach him. Mitchell was told each time he'd have to walk through the snow to the ambulances; in neither case did paramedics walk to get him.
— Once, an ambulance made it across the bridge and was at the opposite end of the block on the narrow street where the couple lived — a little more than a football field's length. Again, paramedics didn't try to walk.
"We failed this person," said Michael Huss, the city's public safety director.