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Death in the Ambulance: When Is the EMT to Fault?

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have quite a challenging job. EMTs are first responders who are responsible for arriving at the scene of an injury to assess and delay the damage done, while attempting to prevent the injuries from furthering.

For many injuries, the most critical treatment that an individual receives is the treatment immediately following the incident. The treatment received in these crucial minutes dictates, whether positive or negative, the patient’s ultimate outcome and recovery. Without EMTs there would be no way for the surgeons and doctors to get to work on the injured, their job is very much necessary.

Examples of EMT Negligence

  • Lack of necessary EMT certification

  • Failure to arrive at the scene in a timely manner

  • Failure to staff properly

  • Failure to upkeep and maintain equipment

  • Negligence in asking patient history

  • Improper use of medical devices

  • Failure to check airflow and breathing

  • Administering the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage

  • Sexual assault

  • Failure to arrive at the scene with the necessary equipment

  • Negligent driving with a passenger

Who is Held Liable for EMT Mistakes?

What happens when an EMT makes a misdiagnosis at the scene, or what about if the team of first-responders refuse to treat your injuries at all? Now this may sound like regardless of the patient’s situation that the EMT must be there to save them or get sued. However, this is not the case, the EMT is responsible for giving competent, appropriate care that is done according to the training protocol.

The laws vary from state to state on the matter of who is held liable. In Texas, EMTs and paramedics are unable to be sued individually, but the department or company they are employed by can be sued and held liable for malpractice. They will be held liable for expenses associated with the death such as medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship.

Pursuing a Case

As with any malpractice case, a plaintiff must establish a duty of care relationship between the EMT and the patient. They must then provide evidence that the EMT failed to administer proper care or acted out of negligence, and they must link the individual’s death to that negligence. Also, they must be able to prove that another qualified individual would have acted differently to change the outcome for the better.

If you found the death of a loved one to be linked to negligence or ambulance malpractice, the best place to start would be discussing your case with an Austin wrongful death attorney. Our Austin wrongful death attorneys work hard to fight for the compensation you deserve. We believe that nobody should be held responsible for the negligent acts of others, which is why we fight for you as if you were a family member or loved one.

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