Baby born prematurely dies after Nebraska mom's 911 calls go unanswered

OMAHA, Nebraska (WABC) -- A mother in Nebraska is mourning the loss of her newborn daughter, who she delivered prematurely, but it's a tragedy Joanna Coddington said could have been avoided.
She said she called 911 three different times after giving birth three months early on July 5, but all three went unanswered.

She then called her own mother.

"My mom answered, and I told her that I gave birth to the baby and she wasn't breathing," Coddington told KETV.
Her mother had the obvious reaction.

"I said call 911," Theresa Kerby said. "And she said, 'I'm calling, but I keep getting a busy signal.'"

Kerby raced home, calling 911 twice herself. She too got a busy signal. She and Coddington raced to a nearby emergency room, but it was too late.

"Nobody knows what the possibilities are if 911 could have came," Kerby said. "But the end result is the same, and that's that baby Angel isn't with us."

Dave Sleeter, the county's 911 director, said they were working an influx of firework complaints that day.
"The next day, I learned it was mostly fireworks calls, non-emergencies," Kerby said. "That just infuriated me, because real emergencies of life and death were not able to get through. All because someone's sleep was inconvenienced."

The 911 study is now running a "traffic study" to see if any improvements can be made.

But for Coddington, that doesn't make her loss any easier.

"If they could have got to her soon enough, there's a possibility she could have been here," she said. "But I'll never know."

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