His Son Called 911, but Their Address Was on a Blacklist

Seattle to pay $1.86M to family of William Yurek, who didn't get immediate medical aid
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 4, 2023 10:25 AM CDT
His Son Called 911, but Their Address Was on a Blacklist
   (Getty Images / artas)

The city of Seattle will pay $1.86 million to the family of a man who died of a heart attack after a caution note attached to his address delayed medics' response. William Yurek, 48, died in his town house in 2021 after his teen son called 911 and arriving Seattle Fire Department medics initially waited outside for law enforcement before entering, the Seattle Times reported. The family alleged Yurek was wrongly included on a blacklist of people known to be hostile to police and fire crews. Yurek had lived in the unit a couple of years before his death, and the previous tenant had been on the outdated list, according to the lawsuit filed last year.

The AP reports that medics were told to wait for a law enforcement escort, the lawsuit stated. As Yurek's condition worsened, his then-13-year-old son called 911 again and was told help was on the way, even though medics had already arrived. Medics then decided to enter the home without police, but despite their treatment, Yurek died. A medical doctor said that without the delay, Yurek would have had a 25% chance of survival, family attorney Mark Lindquist said.

"Once inside, medics did everything they could to save Will's life," Lindquist said in a news release. "The family has always been grateful to the medics who broke protocol to go in and do their best." The city has modified its operating guidelines on the caution notes, which now expire after 365 days in the system or get reviewed and renewed. Notes about the need for Seattle Police Department help because of alleged violent or threatening behavior are to be verified after every alarm dispatched to an address. "From the beginning, the family wanted the city to take responsibility," Lindquist said. "That's happened."

(Read more 911 call stories.)

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