D.C. Asks Court To Appoint A Guardian For Serial 911-Caller Martha Rigsby

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A 58-year-old woman in Washington, D.C., has called 911 so many times that the city is asking a court to declare her incompetent and give her a guardian.

Martha Rigsby has dialed emergency services 226 times in the last year. She’s been hospitalized 117 times.

City officials say she’s dialed 911 thousands of times since she first called in 1977.

This is the first time that a city has asked for guardianship over a serial 911 caller, but other municipalities have had success in similar proceedings, according to Raw Story.

According to a court petition filed by the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) in April, Rigsby suffered from bipolar and borderline personality disorders. DBH believes she is not mentally competent to handle her own medical affairs.

The head of the DBH mobile crisis team that met with Rigsby, Jonathan Ward, testified that she declined suggestions like getting a home health aide and using a wheelchair.

The women said she long feared that the number of calls to 911 would get her into trouble, the Washington Post reported.

“I’ve been through a lot,” Rigsby said. “I’m surprised they haven’t put me in jail by now.”

However, she doesn’t always make the calls herself. She has collapsed or fainted and passersby have usually called emergency services, according to court testimony.

She opposes a guardianship and her court-appointed attorney argues that she is capable of caring for herself.

Her case will be decided after January, when she is scheduled for a neuropsychological examination.

Sources: Washington Post, Raw Story