As my client was being transferred on a stretcher from an ambulance to a hospital emergency room, the two ambulance attendants allowed the stretcher she was on to collapse to the concrete. The client weighed 400+ pounds and had severe osteoporosis. The impact caused a burst compression fracture of the third thoracic vertebra, leaving her permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Discovery revealed that the ambulance company had never trained the attendants in the proper handling of especially large patients, specifically obtaining extra help while handling the stretcher. Moreover, the stretcher had not received maintenance for 19 months, during which time its condition deteriorated from excellent to unacceptable. The defense claimed that the client had a prior condition which caused the paralysis. Medical records showed, however, that the client had full motion in her legs at all times until she was dropped, after which time, she lost all sensation in her legs, as well as the ability to move them. Our preparation included testing the involved stretcher to rule out all non-operator error causes of the collapse. Attention was focused not on the conduct of the EMTs who dropped the stretcher, but on the shoddy training and maintenance practices of the ambulance company that employed them.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that every case is different and these verdicts and settlements, while accurate, do not represent what we may obtain for you in your case.