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Man charged with making fake Ebola 911 call

Posted October 30, 2014

Paul Avens
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— A Raleigh man has been charged with lying to 911 dispatchers that he had Ebola so he could get an ambulance faster, according to an arrest warrant.

Paul Avens, 39, of 524 New Bern Ave., was charged Oct. 17 with misdemeanor misuse of the 911 system. He was released on a $2,000 bond.

During a lengthy 911 call, a man first asked for police and then asked for an ambulance when he learned how long it would take police officers to arrive at his home.

"Police come when they want to come. If I said I had shot someone, they'd be flying over here," the caller said.

The caller became increasingly belligerent as the dispatcher asked him questions to assess the situation and tried to assure him that officers and paramedics were on their way to help him.

"I'm going to catch a cab to the hospital," he said. "911 is a joke."

Police said Avens wanted an ambulance to take him to WakeBrook, a county-operated treatment center for people with substance abuse and mental health problems. Telling dispatchers that he had Ebola forced paramedics to take "an unnecessary Ebola protocol response, which included a response by EMS District Chief 1," according to an arrest warrant.

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  • Anne Walker Oct 31, 2014
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    intelligence has nothing to do with mental health and/or addiction. Your putting the word mental in quotation marks tells me you don't have much of an understanding of any of those.

  • MudLife Oct 30, 2014

    Ambulances respond as quickly as possible. It's the cars in front of them that won't get out of their way. Plus the EMTs safety comes first. You can't wreck and expect to get there to help. What gets me is he called with Ebola. Um, there's nothing EMTs can do for Ebola no miracle drug or anything. If you wanted an ambulance quicker then you should've called with chest pain. Yeah he obviously needs help but abusing the system isn't the way to get it.

  • Backtothemountains Oct 30, 2014

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    Picking up someone to take to a mental health facility is far different from picking someone up with potential Ebola.....

  • wlbbjb Oct 30, 2014

    What he did was wrong but he was seeking help. How long was he on the phone with 911?

  • A cold, hard dose of Hans Oct 30, 2014

    Kudos to him for seeking the help he needs.

  • Alexia Proper Oct 30, 2014
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    This does not sound like abuse of the 911 system to me. He called 911 for assistance to go to a mental facility. Sounds like he did, indeed, need to go.

    If anything, he provided false reasons to the ambulance service. But, he called for an ambulance, either way. If he had called the ambulance line directly, would he have been given the same charge? No. So, they need to rethink the charge.

  • NiceNSmooth Oct 30, 2014

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    Yeah but jail time is not what this man needs - he is sick and was trying to get help granted it was the wrong way but just adds to the fact he needs help

  • katelynnwalk Oct 30, 2014

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  • Olenc Native Oct 30, 2014
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    Now there's an idea.

  • heilama2003 Oct 30, 2014

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    He did say he wanted to go WakeBrook, a county-operated treatment center for people with substance abuse and "mental" health problems, so yes, he isn't the brightest person.

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