Chicago Fire Department Settles Fatal Gurney Accident Case

$300,000 for family of patient killed after cot overturns


 
 

FRAN SPIELMAN, Chicago Sun-Times | | Monday, February 3, 2014


The family of a chronically ill woman who fell off a gurney, hit her head and died because it was being pushed by one paramedic instead of two is in line for a $300,000 settlement.

Chicago Fire Department policy stipulates that ambulance gurneys be pushed by two paramedics - one at the head of the patient, the other at the feet - to keep the gurney stable in the event it rolls across a depression or imperfection.

That's not what happened Sept. 4, 2009, in the 5200 block of North Rivers Edge Drive after an ambulance was summoned to assist 74-year-old Mary Strazz, who was having trouble breathing.

"They all knew the policy. They didn't follow it. They had the smallest member of the crew pushing the gurney" by himself, said Jeff Comeau, an attorney representing the dead woman's family.

"He pushed it into a depression or hole in the parking lot and lost control of the gurney. It tipped over. She struck her head on the pavement and died several days later."

Although the paramedics denied having violated their own policy, Comeau said their argument was destroyed by the deposition of a condominium resident, who watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded.

"He testified that it looked to him like a fraternity hazing," Comeau said.

"They had three or four very large, strong-looking firemen or paramedics who just stood there watching while the smallest member of the crew pushed the gurney by himself. . . . With conscious disregard for the suffering of the patient, they violated their own policy."

The $300,000 settlement is expected to be approved Monday by the City Council's Finance Committee.

Mary Strazz is the mother of the city's Deputy Planning and Development Commissioner Peter Strazzabosco, who refused to comment on the settlement.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford had no immediate comment on the case.

Email: fspielman@suntimes.com

Twitter: @fspielman
 

Mobile Category: 
News


Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Chicago, lawsuit

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters, Medics Drill for Ebola

Lexington firefighters and medics prepare for possible patients.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Mid-South EMTs Prepare for Ebola

Mid-South EMTs are certified for service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ebola Changes How North Carolina EMS Responds to Calls

Concern about virus spread leads to new protocols.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Oklahoma Hospitals Prepare for Ebola Cases

Training and preparation are keys for metro hospitals.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Life Link III Trauma Tactics Conference in Minnesota

Conference was designed to enhance the skills of providers of all levels, covering rescue and prehospital situations, to transport and in-hospital treatment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

EMS Tailgating

Rigs converted for football.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

CDC Ebola Training for Clinicians

Students learn the complexities of working in bulky suits.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >