Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Paramedics Charged with Murder
The family of a man who died as a result of suffocation has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against two paramedics and the company that they work for. The decedent was suffering from alcohol withdrawal when the paramedics attempted to get him out of the house and onto a gurney. The paramedics were told that the decedent was suffering from hallucinations. The paramedics were having difficulty getting the decedent up on the gurney. He didn’t seem to be responding to ordinary commands to sit up. One of the paramedics can be seen on bodycam footage dragging the decedent across the floor. The paramedics eventually got the decedent up on the gurney, but they laid him face down when they strapped him in.
The combination of being laid face down on the gurney with the straps caused the decedent to asphyxiate. In other words, he suffocated to death, according to a medical examiner. Both of the paramedics have been charged with first-degree murder and the family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against them.
Elements of negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit
In this case, the paramedics are being faulted for their handling of the call. Obviously, this man did not need to die that day. He was suffering from alcohol withdrawal after trying to quit drinking. He was someone who was trying to improve the quality of his life but needed help with that from compassionate medical providers. They never got a chance to help him, however, because he died en route to the hospital.
The paramedics are faulted because they should have known better than to strap a patient face down onto a gurney. His death was entirely avoidable. Their conduct and treatment of the defendant was also reprehensible. This will add fuel to the plaintiff’s fire when litigating their claim against the EMTs and the company that they work for.
Both paramedics are charged with first-degree murder. However, it is more likely that they will be convicted of manslaughter for the death of the decedent. In this case, the prosecution will need to prove that they intentionally caused the death of the plaintiff. Attorneys for the defendants contend that this is not a criminal case, but rather a tort, and that the charges against their clients are overreaching. It remains unclear whether or not the prosecution will offer a plea agreement for manslaughter, but it may be difficult to prove first-degree murder in this case.
As for the family, they are grieving the loss of their loved one and outraged at the treatment he received from the paramedics. The wrongful death lawsuit is their attempt to hold the paramedics accountable for their egregious misconduct that day. The entire thing was captured on bodycam, so a jury will see that footage in both the criminal and personal injury cases.
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