Wrongful Death Defense

The call went out to 911. A resident appeared to be suffering from a serious stroke. A paramedic and EMTs were dispatched from the local fire station. They arrived at the home, assessed the situation, and placed the man in an aid car. While in the midst of the 30+ minute drive to the nearest hospital, the patient began to seize again. Concerned about the patient's airway, the paramedic made the decision to divert the patient to Harborview Medical Center. He called for a medevac helicopter to meet the aid car, and then attempted to intubate the patient. The intubation process was difficult. Unbeknownst to the paramedic, the patient had some congenitally fused discs in his neck. The intubation process caused additional damage and a fractured neck. Also, unbeknownst to the paramedic, and only discovered later at autopsy; the original stroke had caused an inoperable brain hemorrhage that under the best of circumstances, would have been fatal in and of itself within a couple of weeks. The patient was admitted to Harborview in a vegetative state, and died after he was removed off life support a couple of days later. Magnuson Lowell represented the fire district (and the paramedic) in defense of the estate's claim. Rick Lowell was able to obtain a summary judgment, exonerating the district and its paramedic from any liability.