Ambulance company penalized for crew’s fatal fumbling

When you call for the help of an ambulance and its crew, the last thing you expect is that you’ll wind up worse off than before you made the call. The plan is that you will be transported safely to wherever you need to go. That’s the standard in San Antonio and anywhere else you might be.

Unfortunately, there is no way to control what human beings are going to do. When their errors and negligence cause serious injury or even death, however, it is possible to hold the responsible parties accountable. This has been shown once again with a case out of Massachusetts.

According to the report from earlier this month, a jury determined that a 67-year-old woman had been the victim of wrongful death back in January 2009. It found that an ambulance crew that had been called to carry the woman from a dialysis treatment had been negligent in allowing her stretcher to tip over as it was being loaded into the vehicle. She suffered a brain injury and died several days later.

The family made the case that the crew attempted to roll the stretcher sideways but didn’t take proper precautions to keep it stable and upright. Had the crewmembers just followed company safety policies about stretcher handling, the argued the fumble would have been prevented and an unnecessary death avoided.

The ambulance company reportedly tried to argue that the problem was with the stretcher and that it malfunctioned. But the plaintiff’s attorney says no defect was ever found.

With the verdict, the jury ordered the ambulance company to pay the woman’s family $1.5 million. The company says it may appeal.

Source: Claims Journal, “Death of Woman Dropped on Head by Ambulance Crew Settled for $1.5M,” The Associated Press, May7, 2015