A Fatal 'Flub' for Medics - Battery 'Roulette'


 
 

Ikimulisa Livingston | | Saturday, July 7, 2007


Queensjurors yesterday got a chilling account of how a vibrant mother and wife died - after FDNY medics allegedly used outdated batteries for a defibrillator.

Toni Ann Joline, 40, was returning from a wedding with her mother early on the morning of Aug. 12, 2000, when a truck crashed ahead of them and halted traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway.

Suddenly, Joline passed out. An ambulance responding to the accident was flagged down and two emergency medical technicians began to tend to her, her lawyer, Marc Reibman, said.

He told jurors the woman stopped breathing and her pulse couldn't be found, so the EMTs tried to use the defibrillator. But when they tried to deliver the lifesaving electric jolt to restart her heart, the machine didn't work.

Instead, it displayed the words "service mandatory." They tried the backup battery, but it didn't work either.

The batteries are supposed to be replaced after two years, but the first battery was 6 years old and the second one was 10, Reibman said.

"It's no fluke," he said. "Those batteries were that old. The city had no system for tracking how old the batteries were.

"By failing to track the age of batteries, they were playing Russian roulette with the lives of the people of the city of New York," Reibman said.

It took more than 30 minutes for the ambulance to get Joline to Jamaica Hospital, where the emergency-room staff used a working defibrillator and got her heart beating again.

But her brain had been deprived of oxygen too long. She died eight months later.

There were 36 other occasions when defibrillators didn't work because of batteries past their expiration dates, said Reibman.

"The city should have known," he said.

As he listened from the front row of the Queens Supreme courtroom, 46-year-old Richard Joline's eyes welled with tears as he relived the painful memory of how his wife died.

Sosimo Fabian, a lawyer representing the city, told the jurors the woman went into cardiac arrest and it took a team of doctors, medications and other measures to get her heart going again.

"I'm not here to tell you the city of New York was perfect," Fabian said. "The defibrillator [manufacturers] are in the business of selling batteries, and they want their batteries sold.

"Her cardiac arrest was not caused by the city," he said.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Cardiac and Circulation

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York First Responders Take Extraordinary Steps to Help Residents

Snow causes fire and EMS crews to go beyond call of duty.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Raw Video: Explosion and Fire at California Business

Over a dozen hurt in Santa Paula blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Workers Killed at Texas Chemical Plant

Five employees exposed to methyl mercaptan in La Porte.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Worker Killed in North Carolina Bridge Collapse

A fatal construction site collapse occurred in Wake County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crashes into Chicago Home

Pilot reported engine trouble after takeoff.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Switzerland Landslide Kills Two, Injures Four

Slide hits residential building near Lugano.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

World Trade Center Rescue

Technical rescue work is done at nation’s tallest skyscraper.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >