The mother of a two-year old child who died after being denied transportation to the hospital has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the District of Columbia Fire and EMS and its acting Medical Director, Geoffrey Mount-Varner. Patrice Stephens, mother of 2 year old Stephanie Stephens, filed suit on September 30, 2010, alleging that the District of Columbia and Dr. Mount-Varner are “vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of the paramedic and emergency medical technicians who provided care and treatment to Stephanie Stephens.”
Stephanie Stephens died of Streptococcal pneumonia on February 11, 2010 after paramedics refused to transport her to the hospital. They reportedly responded to the house just before 5:00 am on February 10, 2010, concluded the child was merely congested, and returned in service 10 minutes after arriving on scene. The lawsuit alleges the incident occurred during a snowstorm leaving Ms. Stephens without a way to transport her daughter to a hospital because taxi service was not available, and she does not own a vehicle.
The paramedics instructed Ms. Stephens to take Stephanie into the shower and run the hot water continuously to create steam as the air in the apartment was dry. As the child’s condition grew worse during the day, Ms. Stephens called 911 again and this time Stephanie was transported to the hospital. However, by that point her infection was so advanced that she did not respond to treatment, and died the next day. The suit alleges that if Stephanie had been transported earlier, she could have been saved.
Among the allegations contained in the lawsuit is the fact that the paramedics failed to document the refusal, and what’s more failed to complete any run reports on the incident. The suit further alleges that the personnel involved were not properly trained or supervised, had been disciplined in the past for poor performance, and had repeatedly failed to demonstrate competency on EMS evaluations.
DC Police Homicide detectives had been asked to look into the case, but as of yet no criminal charges have been filed against the personnel involved.
Here is a copy of the complaint.Download Stephens-COMPLAINT-WRONGFUL-DEATH