Operator praised for helping woman get help to deaf mother

Operator praised for helping woman get help to deaf mother (Image 1)

A Clarksville woman is grateful to a 911 dispatcher who got help to her deaf mother Monday night.

Lisa Prichard lives in Clarksville and was home when her mother texted her that something was wrong.

Prichard was able to video call her mother Joy Gournaris, 68, at Gournaris' Antioch home.

“She was confused, she didn't understand what was going on and was getting ready to pass out,” Prichard said.

Prichard knew if she tried to drive to her mother's home from Clarksville it would take her an hour.

She was also concerned because it appeared her mother was having a stroke and every second counted.

Prichard kept her mother on video phone and called 911 from her Clarksville home.

Clarksville's 911 center transferred her to Nashville where 911 Dispatcher Lori Bentley took over the phone call.

“While, I'm communicating with sign language with my mother I was talking to the dispatcher,” Prichard said. “I had to really be calm and think about what I was saying. I wanted to cry and scream, but I stayed calm for my mother.”

The video relay system Gournaris uses has a 911 emergency component that allows her to make emergency calls.

She did not use that component Monday, because in her confused state she decided to call her daughter first.

Gournaris said she is also grateful to Bentley for her help Monday night.

“She said it made her feel great,” Prichard, who was interpreting for her mother said. “She thought about other deaf people.”

Tuesday night Nashville's News 2 got in touch with Bentley through Nashville's Emergency Communications Center Director Duane Phillips.

Prichard was able to meet Bentley and thank her in person.  She brought flowers and a stuffed animal for the dispatcher.

“It is wonderful,” Bentley said. “It is very nice to meet you and I hope your mother is feeling better.”

Gournaris is feeling better. Doctors discovered a new medication prescribed to her caused an adverse reaction.

The medicine was changed Monday.

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