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A farmer gored by a yak died after a 911 dispatcher hung up on him, Oregon suit says

As Brian Wing walked past a yak pen on his Oregon hobby farm, one of the horned beasts gored him in the leg in August 2017, The Bend Bulletin reports.

Bleeding heavily, the 39-year-old man called 911 but couldn’t speak, “moaning in pain” instead, according to a lawsuit filed against the Deschutes County 911 agency.

After two minutes, and after pinging Wing’s phone to locate him, a 911 dispatcher ended the call, the suit says. Dispatchers called Wing back twice, on the second call leaving a voicemail advising him to call 911 back if he needed help.

Unable to check his voicemail or call 911 again, Wing crawled to his front porch, the suit says. His wife arrived home nearly an hour later and followed a trail of blood to the porch, where she found Wing unconscious. He died later that night of his injury.

The suit, filed Thursday, seeks $7 million for Wing’s wife and 4-year-old child

Tim Williams, a Bend attorney representing the family, says medical experts have told him Wing could have survived had 911 dispatchers sent help when he first called, The Oregonian reports.

“He not only would have lived, they would have been able to save his leg, too,” Williams said. Doctors had amputated Wing’s right leg in an attempt to save his life.

Williams said he hopes the suit serves as a wake-up call to 911 services, KTVZ reported.

“It’s protection of the community as a whole,” Williams said. “More and more, we are becoming a mobile society, we’re cutting the land lines, going with the cellular phones. And if our 911 service can’t keep up with that modernization, it just creates a huge risk for everybody.”

The Deschutes County 911 agency sends personnel to check hang-up calls from landlines, but only sends personnel at the dispatcher’s discretion on cell phone calls, The Bend Bulletin says.

Agency officials say they are reviewing the lawsuit, according to the station.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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