Friday, August 17, 2007

Lawsuit Contests Weight Rule for Helicopter Transport

From EM News:

A lawsuit alleging that a Florida car crash victim might have survived if a helicopter had been sent instead of an ambulance may be the first legal challenge of its kind in the nation.

Sharon Hanlon, the attorney representing family members of the deceased woman, Diana Lopez, said Collier County emergency personnel were lax when they allegedly declined to provide air transport because of her weight, which reportedly exceeded 300 pounds. That negligence occurred due to failure to clarify the rules/procedures regarding heavy-set patients who are trauma alert patients, she said.

Ms. Lopez was in her mid-30s, was a business owner of a trucking company, recently underwent gastric bypass surgery, and had lost 94 pounds. She was in good health and looking forward to life, Ms. Hanlon asserted.

The defense countered that the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff's damages was the decedent's own negligence and actions, or omissions, including, but not limited to, failing to wear a seatbelt. County officials appear confident that neither Collier County nor its Emergency Medical Services will be held liable. We believe that the county has many viable defenses to this action, said Assistant County Attorney William Mountford, who filed Collier County's legal reply to the wrongful death suit.


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