Probe Launched After Md. Dispatcher Falls Asleep

A Montgomery County dispatcher who fell asleep and snored instead of sending an ambulance and providing pre-arrival instructions has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

County officials are saying the incident is being investigated, and steps are being taken that it doesn't happen again, according to WRC-TV.

A woman called 911 after her husband started having trouble breathing and later, starting to turn blue. Her call was answered promptly, and transferred.

But, the tape shows that's when she got snoring instead of someone ready to help, get the address and dispatch an ambulance.

Despite the woman repeatedly saying: "Hello," the snoring continues.

The original call taker steps in, and starts providing medical direction while the dispatcher continues to snore.

Both he and the woman are confused about the noise, and the call taker asks if it's her husband snoring.

The dispatcher woke up 4-6 minutes into the call, and repeatedly asked for the address. Authorities said he was 17 hours into a 24-hour overtime shift when the incident occurred.

Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner -- a member of the council's Public Safety Committee -- told reporters the entire county is "aghast" and finds it "appalling and unacceptable" that the dispatcher was fast asleep.

Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham told reporters the patient was transported to a hospital and did not have any "adverse effects as a result of the call."