Drownings cause thousands of deaths per year, and it is critical that people suspected of drowning receive immediate medical care. Typically, such care is rendered by an emergency medical service provider. If the services offered are inadequate, it can, unfortunately, lead to death, but in many cases, it does not constitute grounds for recovery under medical malpractice or wrongful death claim. In a recent Maryland opinion, the court explained what a plaintiff must prove to establish the liability of an EMS provider in a case in which the plaintiff’s decedent died after the defendant’s resuscitation attempts failed. If you lost a loved one due to EMT negligence, you could be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney.
The Decedent’s Death
It is reported that the decedent was taking part in a SWAT aquatic training exercise in Baltimore County. Prior to the training, he completed a series of exercises that were physically demanding, both in and out of the pool. Near the end of the training, the decedent slipped below the surface of the water for ten seconds and lost consciousness. He was removed from the pool, and medics who worked for the defendant county provided him with medical treatment and attempted to resuscitate him.
Allegedly, he was transported to a hospital, where he later died. The plaintiff filed numerous claims against the defendant, including wrongful death and negligence claims arising out of the care rendered by the EMTs. In response, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the claims.
EMT Liability Under Maryland Law
The defendant argued that as emergency medics, they were immune pursuant to Maryland Code section 5-603. Section 5-603 holds that a person will not be held civilly liable for acts or omissions that occur during the process of providing emergency medical care. Specifically, if the behavior in question does not constitute gross negligence and is provided without a fee or compensation via communications with people providing assistance, at the scene of an emergency, or on the way to a medical facility, it will not result in liability.
In the subject case, the defendant asserted the provision of section 5-603 that granted immunity to any member of a county law enforcement agency that is licensed or certified by the state as an emergency medical services provider applied, rendering them immune. The court ultimately agreed, finding that the plaintiff’s complaint merely asserted the defendants committed ordinary negligence in the rendering of medical care to the decedent, which was insufficient to override the statutory immunity. Thus, the court granted the defendant’s motion.
Confer with a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
People experiencing emergency medical events rely on EMTs to provide prompt and thorough care, and when they do not, it can have devastating consequences. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to EMT negligence, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney. The trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your options for seeking damages and help you to pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach us via our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to schedule a meeting.