Wrongful Death Suit Against NYC Paramedics Dismissed
On June 4, 2020 a Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice ruled that a wrongful death suit on behalf of a 41 year old father of 3 failed to meet the strict requirements of a suit against municipal paramedics administering emergency medical care. The decedent's fiance and daughter called 911 three times over 16 minutes to report that Frankie Ramos, who had a history of asthma requiring nebulizer treatments, was having difficulty breathing and urgently needed an ambulance.The ambulance was dispatched within 3 minutes of the first call and arrived within 14 minutes. The paramedics immediately delivered oxygen and CPR which restored the decedent's pulse. Saline and epinephrine were administered within 11 minutes and the decedent was successfully intubated within 16 minutes (on the first attempt). Unfortunately, Mr. Ramos passed away from respiratory arrest several hours after admission to Brookdale Hospital.
The Court dismissed the case because the plaintiff did not plead and prove the paramedics had a "special duty" to Mr. Ramos which is a higher standard required when suing a municipality in New York. The rule is that when suing a municipality for the negligence of their paramedics, you must prove that there was a "special relationship" between the victim and the municipality. The proof must establish that "the municipality assumed positive direction and control in the face of a known, blatant and dangerous safety violation; or, the municipality voluntarily assumed a duty". Lastly, the proof requires a medical expert's opinion that there was a departure from accepted standards of care by the paramedics and no such proof was submitted. Gonzalez v City of New York, 2020 WL 3000540
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