When someone dies at the scene of an accident, it’s completely normal for loved ones to wonder if there was anything paramedics could have done to save them. While paramedic and emergency medical technician (EMT) negligence is uncommon, it can happen and result in a wrongful death claim.
Paramedics and EMTs provide emergency medical treatment at the scene of accidents in Connecticut. While EMTs generally cannot administer medication, they are trained to check for life-threatening medical conditions and perform lifesaving intervention until a patient is transported to the hospital. Paramedics are EMTs with advanced life support training with the ability to give many types of medications and begin IV lines.
The duties of a paramedic or EMT include:
- Checking for life-threatening conditions
- Treating symptoms according to training
- Preparing a patient for transport to the hospital
- Providing immediate, safe transport to the closest hospital
- Taking control of the patient’s care until the ambulance reaches the hospital
Types of EMT Negligence
While rare, EMT and paramedic negligence can occur in many ways. One of the most common forms of negligence is an accident. According to one study, ambulances are 13 times more likely to crash than other vehicles because ambulance drivers are usually more focused on arriving at the hospital as fast as possible than driving safely. Someone who is already injured may not survive another accident.
Medication mistakes can also be a form of negligence. EMTs and paramedics can only administer approved medications on the scene, but failure to give the correct drug, check that the patient is not on a drug that can interact, or giving the incorrect dose can be negligence.
Miscommunication with the hospital can also be grounds for a wrongful death action. The EMT’s duty to the patient ends when the EMT delivers the patient to the hospital staff, but the EMT must correctly report their assessment of the patient’s condition and treatment to ensure the patient receives the correct care.
Other forms of negligence may include:
- Physical or sexual assault
- Failing to create and preserve records of the incident
- Acting beyond the scope of a paramedic or EMT
- Failing to check circulation, breathing, and airway
- Failing to take the patient’s history
- Improper use of medical devices
- Lack of proper certification
If you have lost a loved one due to negligence on the part of an EMT or paramedic, the ambulance company may be held liable under Connecticut law. An experienced wrongful death attorney in New Haven can help you explore your legal options to hold the responsible party accountable and file a wrongful death claim for medical expenses, final expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of future income.