DC Trying to Put Frequent 911 Caller Under Guardianship

In the last year alone, 58-year-old Martha Rigsby has called 911 more than 200 times, something she's been doing for more than thirty years. DC firefighters know her date of birth and social security number by heart. And now the District of Columbia wants to petition a court to have Rigsby declared incompetent and put under guardianship.

In April, the Department of Behavioral Health filed a court petition, alleging that Rigsby lacks the mental capacity to handle her own affairs due to bipolar and borderline personality disorders. But even if the city wins the guardianship case, Rigsby will still be able to call 911, since the guardian won't be live-in.

According to the Washington Post, this case represents the first time DC has tried to seek guardianship for a "serial 911 caller," a type of person also known as a "super user" or "frequent flier." However, officials in San Francisco successfully file around a dozen conservatorships a year for similar callers.

Rigsby, who worked for the Energy Department for 14 years, opposes the guardianship, said in court that she "doesn't do it on purpose."

According to testimony, it begins when Rigsby feels faint and collapses. Some of the time she dials 911 herself, but the majority of the time, she's outside and passersby call for her.

A city psychiatrist expressed doubt about Rigsby's medical condition, saying that she continues "to place herself in real danger of bodily injuries from falls under the claim of 'seizures' or 'narcolepsy' which have never been correlated with medical findings."

The case will be tabled until January, when Rigsby is expected to have a neuropsychological assessment.

[image via Shutterstock]