Lawsuit: Paralysis Result of Dallas Crew's Negligence

Lawsuit: Paralysis Result of Dallas Crew's Negligence

News Feb 23, 2013

A Dallas man is suing the city, saying a Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew was negligent for refusing to take him to the hospital three times in a day after he called them because he could not feel his legs.

Walter Beattie was transported to the hospital too late, he claims in a lawsuit filed this week in a Dallas County court, and his permanent paralysis was a direct result of the crew’s negligence.

The plaintiff’s attorney and city officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Beattie could not be reached.

In early February 2011, Beattie was discharged from Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano after being hospitalized for nearly two months with a “critical cardiac condition,” according to court documents.

Later that month, Beattie woke up, feeling numbness in his legs. He was unable to walk and called 911 to request an ambulance transport him to the hospital, about two miles from his home. A Dallas Fire-Rescue crew arrived but refused to take Beattie to the hospital.

“The crew stated that because Beattie’s ‘vital signs’ were ‘stable’ they would not transport him,” according to the lawsuit.

The man was left sitting on the kitchen floor of his apartment.

He made another 911 call, but the same crew showed up and refused to transport him to the hospital.

“That crew threatened to call the Dallas police if Beattie called for an ambulance again,” the lawsuit says.

But when the crew left him on the floor of his apartment, they also left a two-way radio on the table, according to the suit. The apartment manager used the radio to call dispatch and report that the Fire-Rescue crew left the radio behind.

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The same group again returned to the man’s home, but this time the apartment manager was there and she asked paramedics to transport him to the hospital. They told her they would not, and she requested their help in getting the man into her own car so she could drive him herself, the suit says.

“The crew refused that request and left the apartment,” the court documents say.

Finally, several hours after Beattie made the first call, the ambulance crew returned to the apartment a fourth time and “grumblingly agreed” to take the man to the hospital, the lawsuit says.

The plaintiff says the delay in transporting him to the hospital resulted in his permanent paraplegia. Upon his arrival at the hospital, doctors found that his spinal column had swollen and the emergency surgery to reduce the swelling was too late to prevent permanent damage.

“To this day, Beattie remains a paraplegic as a direct and proximate result of the actions and omissions of the ambulance crew from City of Dallas Fire and Rescue,” the lawsuit says.

Copyright 2013 The Dallas Morning NewsDistributed by Newsbank, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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