Wrongful Death Suit in NY Alleges Delayed Ambulance

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the City of Lockport, New York alleging that the delay of a mutual aid ambulance contributed to the death of an alderman’s mother.

Jeanette A. Lombardi, 75, died on September 20, 2012 after suffering an anaphylactic reaction to medication she received during a dental visit. She was the mother of Alderman John Lombardi III.

At the time the fire department’s two ambulances were tied up, one on a run and one on a training exercise. A mutual aid request was initially sent to the South Lockport Fire Company, who was unable to respond. A request was then sent to the Wrights Corners Fire Company. By the time an ambulance finally arrived Mrs. Lombardi was unresponsive and later died.

The complaint alleges that two officers who made the decision to request mutual aid had the discretion to send a city unit, and that both ambulance returned in service right about the time of Mrs. Lombardi’s 911 call.

Attorney Gregory Stamm, who filed the suit on behalf of the Lombardi estate, was quoted by The Buffalo News as commenting: “I still haven’t had a chance to ask people in the City of Lockport their side of the story, but I was able to piece together the timeline from the various fire departments and the sheriff’s 911 dispatch summary. … We feel there’s an unacceptable gap in time from when the City of Lockport was notified and when somebody finally showed up, because the City of Lockport did not have a truck in service. I’m not sure what they were doing.”

More on the story.

Certainly I’d be much obliged to any of our NY friends and attorneys who can supply a copy of the complaint.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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