Letter of the week: Scary memories of 'patchwork' 9-11

Published: Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 31, 2009 at 11:42 p.m.

The Sun's Dec. 4 editorial about 9-11 titled "Patchwork system," brought back some scary memories for me.

About 4 or 5 years ago, I called a friend in the Miami area. We were both in our early 80s and my friend was a diabetic. In the course of our conversation, my friend's voice became very faint and finally quiet. I began calling out "Sis, Sis, are you there?" Nothing.

I feared that she had gone into a diabetic coma. Since I was talking with her on my cell phone, I dialed 911 on my land line. I got a prompt answer and stated the problem.

I was told there was nothing the responders here could do. I was given the number of the Miami police department, which I dialed immediately after hanging up.

I let the phone ring interminably and finally hung up to redial in case I had dialed a wrong number.

Again, nothing.

I hung up and dialed the operator. My long distance carrier at the time was MCI and I will never forget them. The operator was a Hispanic woman named Maria. I explained the situation to her as rapidly and as coherently as I could.

God bless Maria. She grasped the gravity of the situation and my state immediately. Maria began seeking numbers in Miami for emergency responders, only to discover that due to the large size of Miami, we had to know the area my friend lived in. I had to dig up the street address and we tried to find the correct Miami district for responders. After at least an hour of trying to find the appropriate emergency center, we found it.

In our joy and relief, I was crying, Maria was crying and her supervisor was crying. All this time I was listening to my cell phone and talking on my land line.

I later learned that the responders had gotten to my friend in time and resuscitated her. The next morning my friend called and thanked me profusely, saying that I had saved her life.

Georgia "Pete" Vickers


Yes, it is a patchwork system. I hope if a similar incident happens to someone else the ending will be as fortunate as ours was.

Georgia "Pete" Vickers

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