First responders are often dispatched to provide emergency medical care to people suffering from critical health concerns. Tragically, however, first responders sometimes make fatal mistakes when offering acutely ill people care. In such instances, the first responders can often be held accountable for medical malpractice. Recently, a New York court discussed what evidence is needed to prove that first responders should be liable for negligent medical care in an opinion issued in a case in which the plaintiff’s decedent died following incompetent care. If you were hurt by the recklessness of a health care provider, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the decedent suffered a seizure while working. The defendant paramedics who were employed by the defendant city responded to a 911 call the decedent’s co-workers placed. Within fifteen minutes, the decedent’s heart stopped. The defendant paramedics administered the decedent a drug per the instruction of the defendant doctor. The decedent never regained consciousness or the ability to breathe on his own. He died a month after the incident. His wife subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting, among other things, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. The decedent city moved for dismissal via summary judgment.
Demonstrating First Responders Committed Medical Malpractice
The court granted the defendant city’s motion in large part, dismissing most of the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that when a medical malpractice claim is asserted against a municipality, the first issue the court must decide is whether the municipal entity was acting in a governmental capacity or engaged in a proprietary function when the claim arose.
If the actions of the municipality fall under the proprietary realm, it will be subject to suit under the ordinary rules of negligence that apply to parties outside of the government. The court noted that a government entity performs a purely proprietary role when its activities basically supplement or substitute for traditional private enterprises. On the other hand, a municipality will be considered to engage in a governmental function when it undertakes its acts for the safety and protection of the public pursuant to its general police powers.
A city’s emergency response system, including ambulance care offered by first responders, should be deemed classic governmental functions rather than a proprietary act. In the subject case, the court found that the city’s employees were acting in a government capacity at the time of the decedent’s harm. Thus, it was immune from liability.
Talk to an Experienced Rochester Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Health care providers that carelessly perform their duties and cause their patients to suffer harm may be liable for medical malpractice. If you suffered injuries due to the recklessness of a person rendering medical care, you have the right to seek damages, and it is advisable to contact an attorney. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to establish the liability of negligent medical professionals, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a conference.