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When is an EMT Responsible for a Wrongful Death?

Published on Jan 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm in Wrongful Death.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim against a person who can be held liable for a death.  A wrongful death can be the result of a fatal accident, negligence, or deliberate behavior.  Auto accidents, abuse, and medical malpractice are all examples of possible wrongful death claims.

When we think of medical malpractice claims involving wrongful death in Kentucky, we often think of mistreatment that occurs at a hospital or at the hands of a physician.  But medical malpractice can occur even in the moments immediately following an accident, at the hands of an emergency medical technician (EMT) that fails to administer necessary life-saving treatment.

What Are Some Examples of EMT Negligence?

According to a study published in the Journal of Prehospital Emergency Care, an ambulance is 13 times more likely to crash than other vehicles.  This is because ambulance drivers often make decisions in the interest of saving time, rather than reaching the hospital safely.  An ambulance that is driving recklessly can become involved in an accident that causes the person being transported to suffer additional injuries and a costly time delay in getting to the hospital to receive the treatment they need.  Kentucky law requires all ambulance drivers to meet specific training requirements and use safe driving techniques when transporting patients to hospitals.

EMTs are not allowed to diagnose the injuries or illnesses of the individuals they are transporting.  They are only allowed to administer basic life-saving care after checking for life-threatening conditions.  All advanced medical care should take place only after the person has reached the hospital.

It is the job of an EMT to relay all vital information about the person they are transporting to the medical staff receiving them at the hospital.  An EMT must accurately report their assessment of the person’s condition and the treatment that they administered.  Miscommunication could lead to improper hospital care.

EMTs are only allowed to administer certain preapproved medications.  And they should always check for pre-existing conditions before giving any of these medications to individuals they are transporting.  For example, nitroglycerin is a medication commonly given in an ambulance to persons experiencing cardiac pain.  However, nitroglycerin is dangerous for people who are taking Viagra because it can cause a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure.  An EMT must check for any such dangerous medication combinations and not give any medicine unless it is deemed safe or instructed to do so by a doctor.

If someone you love lost their life as a result of medical malpractice at the hands of a negligent EMT in the state of Kentucky, a Louisville wrongful death lawyer can help.  Thomas Law Offices is experienced in handling complicated wrongful death claims that involve mistreatment received in the early moments of after-accident care.  Contact our legal team today for a free, no-obligation consultation of your case.  We will work hard to earn you the financial reward you deserve to recover lost wages and medical expenses.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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