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D.C. asks court to appoint guardian to look after habitual 911 caller

By Travis Gettys
Monday, November 11, 2013 9:48 EDT
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Ambulance driver via Shutterstock
 
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Officials in Washington, D.C., are asking a court to declare a frequent 911 caller incompetent and place her under a guardianship.

The city says 58-year-old Martha Rigsby has called the emergency phone service 226 times in the past year and been taken by ambulance to a hospital 117 times.

She’s made thousands of calls since her first, in 1977, and Rigsby is so notorious that a group of city officials met to discuss her case earlier this year.

The Department of Behavioral Health filed a court petition in April arguing that Rigsby has bipolar and borderline personality disorders and lacks the mental capacity to handle her own medical affairs.

It’s the first known attempt by a city to seek guardianship for a serial 911 caller, and if successful, would allow a court-appointed guardian to hire a home health aide, fill prescriptions and propose a different living environment.

Although Rigsby has had various medical insurance plans over the years, she still owes the city more than $61,000 for ambulance trips, which cost an average of $478 each.

Rigsby opposes the city’s efforts, and her court-appointed attorney argues that she’s able to care for herself and has no malicious intent in making the calls.

In fact, she doesn’t always make the calls herself.

According to court testimony, passersby usually make the calls after Rigsby faints and collapses outside.

First responders are not permitted to deny care to any patient who calls for help

The case won’t be decided until after January, when Rigsby is expected to have a neuropsychological examination.

[Image" Ambulance driver via Shutterstock]

 
 
 
 
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