N.C. Man Can't Sue Some Responders Who Declared Him Dead
A North Carolina man who spent time in a refrigerated drawer in a morgue after he was erroneously declared dead can't collect damages from some of his first responders, a state appeals court has ruled.
Larry Donnell Green was hit by a car in 2005 and suffered an open head wound. As alleged in his lawsuit, Wade Kearney of the Epsom Fire Department declared him dead, according to Courthouse News Service.
The suit contends that EMS worker Paul Kilmer refused to confirm that the 29-year-old Green did not have a pulse. Kearney, Kilmer and another EMS person, Katherine Lamell, put a white sheet over Green's body.
Rescue workers Pamela Hayes and Ronnie Wood also did not check Green for vital signs, the published report stated.
Franklin County Medical Examiner J.B. Perdue sent Green to the morgue, even though eight witnesses at the scene said they saw movement in Green's chest and abdomen.
"That's only air escaping the body," Perdue allegedly said, reporters wrote.
When Green's eyelid began to twitch, but Perdue said it was just a muscle spasm, and he was placed in a refrigerated drawer.
When the body bag on the slab was removed from the drawer at the request of the trooper investigating the wreck, Perdue finally discovered Green was alive, the news report stated.
He spent six weeks in the hospital. But, his parents told local reporters that he is bed-ridden and can barely speak.
Green and his parents sued for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The family has told local media outlets that there is little chance Green will recover from injuries that have left him bed-ridden and barely able to talk.
Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of a lower court ruling that determined fire and rescue workers and Louisburg Rescue can't be sued by Green's guardian, according to reports.
Judge Donna Stroud wrote it doesn't appear the workers' actions could be considered gross negligence. The court says they're otherwise exempt from liability.
Several years ago, Green and his family received $1M settling a suit that involved the county, Franklin County EMS and paramedics Katherine Lamell and Paul Kilmer, according to reports.
A judge later dismissed the suit against the medical examiner.