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Gay reporter’s husband dies, T-Mobile 911 ‘ghost calls’ blamed

Brian Cross (L) and David Taffet (R) were recently married.
Photo credit:
David Taffet - Facebook

DALLAS., -- David Taffet, a reporter for the LGBT publication The Dallas Voice wants answers this week after his call to 911 was handled incorrectly resulting in the service hanging up on him while his husband lay dying.

Taffet came home to find his husband Brian Cross acting strangely. He made him something to eat and afterwards Cross fell asleep and began to snore.

Concerned after the snoring stopped abruptly, Taffet dialed emergency services at 9 pm.

“I called 911,” Taffet writes in The Dallas Voice. “After a few minutes, I was disconnected. When someone calls 911 and is disconnected, 911 operators are supposed to call back. They didn’t.”

He immediately tried to contact them again while administering CPR to his unresponsive husband. A 911 operator finally answered at approximately 9:20 he said.

“By that time, no matter how much I breathed into his mouth and pounded his chest, Brian wasn’t breathing.”

This time the call was effective and Dallas Fire Rescue arrived on the scene within minutes, “But had they been there at 9:05 rather than 9:25, Brian might have been resuscitated,” said Taffet.

Sadly Cross was pronounced dead at the hospital.

This isn’t the only case in which a Dallas 911 call was handled poorly, a child who had fallen out of a day bed also died after the caregiver tried unsuccessfully to seek 911 assistance.

Dallas city officials have become concerned with the problem as well because it seems the issue is only affecting that city. 

They think the trouble may lie with T-Mobile customers whose phones keep making “ghost calls” to 911 knocking legitimate callers to the back of the line.

These “ghost calls” are only made from T-Mobile phones that have already dialed 911 even after emergency crews have responded.

This causes a bottle neck in the calling queue, overwhelming the system. Not all T-Mobile phones are making the calls, and the “ghost calls” increase at random times. 

Dallas mayor, Mike Rawlings, gave his condolences to Taffet and apologized to others who may have had adverse reactions to longer 911 wait times, but he vows to find an answer to the problem.  

"We need immediate answers, and we need to do everything we can to fix this," Rawlings said.

T-Mobile executives and technical engineers made their way to Dallas on Wednesday to probe into the issue, but so far they have released not statement as to why the glitch is happening.

The Dallas Police Department has increased staffing to handle calls and T-Mobile says it will remain in Dallas until they find an answer.

"We will stay on this until it is fully resolved and everybody can rest comfortably that when they call 911 and they call for an emergency request for help, it will be addressed immediately," said David Carey, executive vice president for T-Mobile.

Meanwhile, Taffet is still grieving the loss of his husband. And through it all he wants the issue resolved so others don’t have to go through what he has.

"I don't want to start hearing about more people dying as a result of people waiting to get through for help," Taffet told The Dallas News.