After calling 911 multiple times and experiencing the painful wait, the family was devastated. In this exclusive report, CityNews investigates the last hours of a University of British Columbia (UBC) student’s last year in a dorm room after a death his family believed was avoidable. Sophomore Kyle Sohn had a medical emergency on the morning of November 14th.
Phone records show that he used the search Apple Watch to dial 911 twice, but he didn’t seem to be able to communicate when he answered the call. He first called at 7.33am and then again about half an hour later. In both cases, employees at ECOMM, the agency that provides 911 dispatch, said they tried to call him back. However, since the dispatcher couldn’t hear anything at first, their attempts to call him back went to voicemail, so no one was able to help.
After the second call, other residents of the dormitory became concerned. They said they heard Son vomiting in Son’s room between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. They said they knocked on the door and tried to get Sohn to open it, but he didn’t respond. At 9:30 a.m., residents said they spoke to the UBC Residential Life Manager on the phone and asked for someone to answer Sohn’s door.
But according to roommate Prince Fox, the life manager said he couldn’t or wouldn’t open the door, citing UBC policy. “He called back and told us to call the police,” Fox said. “I asked him again if he would answer the door and we were really worried. He just told us to call the police.”
Simon Busemeyer, who was there at the time, believes UBC staff have the right to open the door for Sohn. “The information about Kyle’s 911 call was [a bit] concerning because we didn’t see the police until after they called,” said Busemeyer, a student who was in the dorm at the time, adding that they were surprised the police didn’t send it initially. “Furthermore, we have seen no action from UBC, even though the police would need them to open the doors anyway.”
Around 10 a.m., about two and a half hours after Sohn’s first 911 call, a resident of the dorm called 911, and about 10 minutes later, members of the UBC RCMP arrived. Residents of the residence said police were given the wrong keys and had to return to reception at the residence, adding to the delay. According to his son’s family, he was without a pulse when first responders arrived.