Heart Attack Victim Sues Fire Department Over Refusal to Transport

A California man who called 911 because he was having a heart attack has filed suit against the Sacramento Fire Department claiming personnel not only refused to transport him, but ridiculed him for “acting like a child.”

Anwar Theekri filed suit in Sacramento County Superior Court naming the City of Sacramento,  the Sacramento Fire Department, and twenty unnamed parties as defendants. His wife, Robina, was a co-plaintiff in the suit.

According to the complaint:

  • On or about 4:00a.m. on June 16, 2019, Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI called 911 from his home in Sacramento, California requesting emergency medical assistance because Mr. Theekri was experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack.
  • When emergency personnel arrived on scene. Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI described his symptoms as pain in his heart and left shoulder, sweating, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
  • The emergency responders took Mr. Theekri’s vital signs and then inquired as to whether Mr. Theekri was having a domestic dispute.
  • There was no evidence that any one at the residence was having a domestic dispute.
  • After emergency personnel assessed Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI’s condition, they told him there was nothing wrong with him and advised him to go back to bed.
  • The emergency responders did not offer or make any attempt to transport Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI to the hospital.
  • Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI begged and pleaded with the emergency personnel to help him and take him to the hospital.
  • He repeatedly stated that he could not breathe and that he was having serious pain in his heart and left shoulder.
  • The emergency responders continued to refuse medical transport to the hospital and stated to Plaintiffs and their family that there were so many cars outside that someone living there could have taken him to the hospital if he really needed to go, or he could have taken a taxi cab.
  • Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI continued to beg and plead with the emergency personnel to help him and take him to the hospital.
  • Plaintiff told the emergency personnel numerous times,” I CANNOT BREATHE” and needed their help.
  • The emergency personnel ignored Plaintiffs clear and consistent cries for help.
  • Emergency personnel spent over 21 minutes inside the Plaintiffs’ residence and during that time made no attempt or made any offer to transport Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI to the hospital.
  • While emergency personnel were still on scene at the Plaintiffs’ residence, Mr. Theekri requested that his wife.
  • Plaintiff ROBINA THEEKRI, get him an aspirin. Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI struggled to swallow the aspirin and again stated to the emergency personnel that he was having difficulty breathing and was in extreme pain.
  • The emergency personnel stood by and ridiculed Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI for acting like a child and continued to refuse any further medical assistance or transportation.
  • Further, they stood by while the Theekri family prepared to transport Plaintiff to the emergency room themselves without any assistance from the emergency personnel who had responded at the residence.
  • As a result of the failure of the emergency personnel to transport Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI to the hospital, his wife. Plaintiff ROBINA THEEKRI, transported him to the Kaiser Emergency Room in their personal vehicle.
  • Upon arrival at the Kaiser medical facility, initial testing showed that Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI was in active cardiac arrest and had been suffering in this state for several hours.
  • Plaintiff ANWAR THEEKRI underwent triple bypass surgery on or about June 18, 2019.

The suit alleges negligence, vicarious liability through respondeat superior, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and discrimination under the UNRUH Civil Rights Act of California. Here is 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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