Patients across the country rely on emergency medical technicians to come
to their aid at a moment’s notice. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics there were about 239,100 EMTs employed in the United States
in 2012. The responsibility of these EMTs is tremendous. They are expected
to work long shifts, carefully navigate oversized ambulances through all
weather conditions, and immediately render medical aid in various conditions
to those in peril. The responsibility that EMTs accept can instantly and
without notice affect nearly any person within their geographic range.
Given the severity of the circumstances people are under when they decide
they need an ambulance, this responsibility is consistently heightened.
The lives of those who come in contact with EMTs in an emergency situation
are literally in the hands of those responders. This means that when an
EMT makes an error, the consequences can be quite severe.
On January 31, 2009, 67-year-old Barbara J. Grimes was to be taken by ambulance
from her dialysis appointment to her home. She arrived stable and safe
to the hospital parking lot. At that point she was taken towards the ambulance
while still on a stretcher. The two EMTs who were attempting to move her
into the ambulance then dropped Barbara on her head. The impact left Barbara
with blood moving into the outer layers of her brain’s covering;
she was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage. Within five days she was dead.
Barbara’s sister, Patricia Zacarelli, upon reflection said, “She
was all about doing for others and taking care of family. It is such a
shame that she should die in the hands of EMTs whose job it was to safely
When a loved one dies as the result of another’s negligence or recklessness the
law allows the survivor’s to bring suit. Generally a survivor is the
deceased’s spouse, children, or next of kin. These relatives can
bring suit against the defendant to receive
compensation for the deceased’s expected income, services, protection, care,
assistance, or other related companionship losses. Punitive damages, or
money that is rewarded to punish the defendant, can be awarded if the
defendant behaved recklessly or was grossly negligent. In the trial of
Barbara Grimes the jury returned her family a $1.5 million verdict against
American Medical Response, the employer’s of the EMTs and the largest
ambulance company in the United States. The Middlesex Superior Court jury
found that that the company was responsible for the negligence of the
EMTs and resulting death of Barbara Grimes. A spokesman for AMR said,
“We are very disappointed with the verdict. We are reviewing our
options and are considering appealing the ruling.”
Contact Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.
When a life is taken too early and families are torn apart by the negligence
of those we trust, survivors have the right and the responsibility to
take action. If you or a loved one were severely injured while under the
care of an EMT, the attorneys at
Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. are here to help. Our experienced attorneys are committed to helping you
win your case.