Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settled by EMS with Family of Firefighter

The family of a 20-year-old volunteer firefighter recently settled their wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland against emergency medical responders, over claims that EMS workers intentionally responded slowly to a call for help due to a feud with local firefighters.

The complaint was filed in March 2007 by Tammy Reed and Danny Gibson, mother and fiancé of Christina Hess, who died along with her unborn son due to pregnancy complications in 2003.

The defendants named in the wrongful death lawsuit included Washington County, Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services, the ambulance chief, two medics, and the dispatcher who took the emergency call.

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Hess and Gibson were volunteer firefighters with the Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Co., and the complaint alleges that Smithsburg EMS workers deliberately delayed their response to Hess’s emergency call due to bitterness over a prior dispute between the ambulance company and volunteer fire company.

During a recorded conversations between the dispatcher and former ambulance chief moments after the emergency call, the request for help was mocked and comments were made belittling the firefighters.

Although Hess was suffering seizures only three doors from the ambulance company, it took emergency responders nine minutes to respond. After unsuccessfully trying to intubate Hess for over 15 minutes, she was transported to Washington County Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

According to The Herald-Mail in Washington County, the case has settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.


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