$17 Million Washington DC Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against District and FEMS Medical Director Over Botched Response to Fatal Heart Attack

The family of Edward Givens is suing the District and Fire and Emergency Medical Services medical director Dr. James Augustine for Washington DC wrongful death. Givens, 39, died of a heart attack in December 2008 just hours after a DC paramedic informed him he was suffering from acid reflux.

The wrongful death complaint holds the defendants responsible for Givens’ death because the paramedic allegedly committed paramedic malpractice. Mishandling documents, incorrectly interpreting medical information, and telling Givens to take Pepto Bismol are some of the actions cited in the Washington DC civil lawsuit.

Six hours after the paramedic’s wrong diagnosis, Givens was dead. The wrongful death complaint says that tests previously taken by the paramedic who treated Givens indicate that the medical worker did not display knowledge meeting the US standard of care for how a paramedic should deal with cardiac conditions and complaints. Givens’ family claims Augustine should have known that the paramedic’s skills were not up to par.

Just this April, the Washington Times published an article reporting that dozens of DC paramedics failed to meet the minimum national standard during written and videotaped tests about medical knowledge and basic lifesaving procedures.

Paramedic Malpractice

Paramedics are often the first medical workers to treat patients in the event of an emergency situation. It is important that they are properly trained and can provide patients with the medical care that they need. Proper emergency medical care can save an injured, sick, or dying person’s life.

Paramedic malpractice is a form of Washington DC medical malpractice. Examples of paramedic malpractice include:

• Delayed diagnosis
• Wrong diagnosis
• Delayed ambulance arrival
• Unjustified delays when transporting the patient to the hospital
• Medication mistakes
• Not following proper paramedic treatment procedures
DC sued over heart attack response, Fire Rescue 1, December 9, 2009
Some D.C. paramedics to be retrained, The Washington Times, June 9, 2009
Related Web Resources:

DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services

Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI)

Contact Information