Hospital Patients to Lose 911

Most telephones used by patients at Camarillo State Hospital will soon be disconnected from Ventura County’s 911 system because of excessive bogus emergency calls from the hospital, according to a hospital administrator.

“We know those 20 to 60 calls a day create a hardship for the 911 system and could create a tragedy by tying up their lines,” said Norm Kramer, the hospital’s administrative services director.

As a result of discussions among officials of the county’s emergency system, the hospital and GTE, hookup with the 911 system from many of the hospital’s 65 pay telephones will be eliminated within two weeks.

“We did have one patient who had a legitimate call and reported a fire, but those legitimate calls are few and far between,” said Cmdr. Merwyn Dowd, head of the county’s 911 system.


Kramer said GTE at first told hospital officials that if 911 were deleted, patients would be unable to dial an operator. Most patients make collect calls, and the hospital needs a backup emergency system, he said.

But GTE solved the problem and patients will be able to dial the operator but not 911. If there is an emergency, operators will put patients through to 911.