First responders are not typically found negligent, nor are they usually held responsible for injuries – but they are not 100 percent immune from malpractice, either. In most cases, an EMT or paramedic’s care can dictate the patient’s outcome (positively or negatively). Without these first responders, surgeons would not have the opportunity to work on patients, or possibly save their lives.
But, what if an EMT or paramedic makes a mistake at the scene that costs a victim’s life? Could he or she be held accountable for this gross negligence?
When a loved one dies at the scene of an accident, family members may wonder if there was anything that an EMT or paramedic could have done to prevent that death. Negligence cases against EMTs and paramedics in Connecticut are rare, but that does not mean that they don’t ever happen.
EMTs and paramedics are trained in lifesaving techniques. They are there to support an individual until he or she can receive proper medical care at a hospital or medical facility. Paramedics, unlike EMTs, are able to start intravenous lifelines and are authorized to use certain medications.
Assessing the Duty of an EMT/Paramedic
In order to determine if there was an error or malpractice, you must first identify an EMT/paramedic’s duty of care, which is:
- To assess for life-threatening conditions and treat symptoms
- Prepare the patient for transport to the medical facility
- Provide the patient with a safe and immediate transportation to the nearest medical facility
- Take charge of the patient’s care until he or she arrives at the facility
- Report any conditions/concerns to the treating physician
When is an EMT or Paramedic Considered Grossly Negligent?
There are instances where EMTs and paramedics can be considered grossly negligent under the law. These examples can include:
- Treating while having a lack of certification
- Lacking the proper training at time of treatment
- Failing to arrive at the scene in a timely manner (but could have)
- Misuse or improper use of medical devices
- Performing procedures that they are not certified or authorized to perform
- Failure to maintain the ambulance equipment
- Failure to bring necessary life-saving equipment to the call
- Failure to staff the ambulance
- Reckless driving
- Physical or sexual assault of the patient
- Failure to check vitals or preserve the airway
- Failure to report emergency situations to the physician overseeing the victim’s care
- Leaving the patient at the scene
- Failure to create or preserve medical records
Suing an EMT or Paramedic
In most cases, it is not the EMT or paramedic who is sued. Instead, it is the ambulance company or government agency that he or she works for. If you have lost a loved one because of an ambulance’s error, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit. If you were injured because of the inadequate care received from a first responder, you may still qualify for compensation. You will first need to have your case assessed by a personal injury attorney in Connecticut.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule your no-obligation consultation. Call us at 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.