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 transport her.”
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 & Lina, LLC
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 & Lina, LLC are here to help. Our experienced attorneys are committed to helping you win your case.