'Failing' GSM network blamed for woman's death

21st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 March 2006, BRUSSELS — Renewed concerns have been raised about the GSM network in Belgium due to the recent death of a woman after an emergency call for assistance was answered by the wrong linguistic alarm centre.

21 March 2006

BRUSSELS — Renewed concerns have been raised about the GSM network in Belgium due to the recent death of a woman after an emergency call for assistance was answered by the wrong linguistic alarm centre.

The woman died in hospital last weekend after suffering a stroke in December 2005 and her family is reportedly planning to lodge a complaint against the nation's GSM operators.

Riemst Mayor Jan Peumans also said on Tuesday he intends to re-examine the GSM network in response to the tragedy. Tests were previously carried out in January but the results are not yet forthcoming.

When the woman suffered her stroke last year, her husband dialed the 100 emergency number but was transferred to the Francophone alarm centre in Liège.

But because the alarm centre operator could scarcely understand the man, it took 22 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take the woman to hospital. The woman lapsed into a coma and died last weekend.
 
Research has indicated that a third of emergency 100 calls placed for fire or ambulance assistance from mobile phones in Riemst are answered by French-speaking alarm centre operators.

Repeated complaints have been made about the problem and an Interior Ministry spokesman stressed to newspaper 'Het Belang van Limburg' that tests are still being carried out.

The Limburg town of Riemst is located along the linguistic border in Belgium.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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