When a medical disaster strikes, people count on the care of EMT’s and paramedics. These individuals arrive then 911 is called, and they are highly-trained to administer emergency care in high-stress environments. While rare, there are cases in which a paramedic is lax in patient care, which can result in the death of a patient. Readers in New Mexico may be interested in a recent case in which a paramedic was deemed directly responsible for a patient’s death, and the patient’s surviving family members received over a million dollars from the city in compensation after they sued for wrongful death.
In 2011, a woman requested help from emergency personnel when she experienced chest pains and difficulty breathing while getting an MRI. Two paramedics were dispatched to render aid. However, according to witnesses, they did not seem to do anything to assist the women in the half hour after their arrival. They eventually loaded her into an ambulance, where she lost consciousness and went into full cardiac arrest during transit.
Several days later, the woman passed away. During the trial, it was discovered that one of the paramedics, a 66-year-old man, had recently been on desk duty while he tried to pass the paramedic recertification exam, as his certification had expired. It took him three tries to pass the test.
When questioned about the incident, the paramedic seemed confused, and was unable to clearly articulate any details about the woman’s condition or what happened that caused her to eventually expire. It also came to light that the paramedics did not follow the appropriate procedures with the patient, such as taking her blood pressure or checking for signs of a heart attack. In fact, witnesses said that the two seemed almost flippant and were discussing a meal that was cooking at the fire station.
Due to many factors, the city council is expected to approve a large, taxpayer-funded settlement for the woman’s surviving family members. Those in New Mexico who have been through a similar experience could greatly benefit from speaking with an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice and wrongful death litigation. An attorney who practices in this area of law will be in the best position to discuss the various legal options available for family to seek reparation for the gross mistreatment of their loved one.
Source: dispatch.com, “Columbus paramedic in wrongful death under new investigation“, Lucas Sullivan, July 11, 2016