Dispatcher Spends 8 Hours on Phone to Locate Patient

A New York City Fire Department dispatcher stayed on the phone with a patient in need of help for eight hours as authorities rushed to locate her.

A 911 call came into the system at 12:53 p.m. on June 10 and it appeared to be a person who was experiencing a "medical crisis," according to FDNY spokesman James Long.

"The person who was experiencing this medical crisis was not at their home and was unable to talk to us and tell us where she was and what was really going on with her," Long told ABCNews.com.

Authorities now believe the woman suffered a stroke.

The woman worked at a housekeeper so she was not at her own home, making it difficult to find her.

"The EMT, whose title is emergency medical dispatch, stayed on the line for approximately eight hours while a group of people and agencies assisted in trying to locate this person," Long said.

The dispatcher has since been identified as Joann Hilman-Payne.

"Her role on the line was to reassure and try to seek out information and try to keep the person as calm as can be [by telling her] that help was on the way," he said.

The NYPD worked with the phone company to locate the woman and authorities went to several different addresses before they found her.

"[The dispatcher] did take a break here and there and come back but she did the lion share of the phone call," Long said. "It was a good job by the EMT."

The department has been petitioned for Hilman-Payne to receive some sort of special recognition for her work and Long said the petition will be taken under advisement.

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