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

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee County EMS Shows Off CPR Tool

Lucas 2 in service in Bradley County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

FDIC 2014 CHAT: MIKE MCEVOY AND A.J. HEIGHTMAN

Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

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


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

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >