Minnesota Firefighters on Leave Following Stoppage of Care at Nursing Home

Six members of the Maplewood, Minnesota Fire Department including the fire chief have been placed on administrative leave following a police investigation into the death of a 71-year old nursing home patient.

According to news reports, firefighters were called to the scene of a nursing home on August 7, 2015 where CPR was in progress on Linda Sandhei. Her heartbeat returned and as personnel prepared to transport, Thomas Sandhei, Linda’s husband, asked that further resuscitation efforts be stopped. The request was honored and about 20 minutes later she died.

The Maplewood Police Department investigated the incident when it was revealed that the personnel stopped resuscitation efforts without a do-not resuscitate order, directions from a doctor to stop, or even a advanced health care directive. Ramsey County prosecutors reviewed the investigation and concluded that because the firefighters acted in “good faith” no criminal charges would be filed.

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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