DC Fire and EMS Sued for $17 million – Heart Attack not Acid Reflux

The mother of a man who died on December 3, 2008, has filed suit against the Washington DC Fire & EMS (FEMS) alleging that the city and Dr. James J. Augustine, the department’s former medical director, are responsible for his death.

Edward Givens died approximately six hours after being told by DC  paramedics that the symptoms he was experiencing were due to acid reflux. The suit alleges he was actually having a heart attack, and that the failure of the paramedics to properly diagnose, treat – and more importantly warn Givens that his symptoms could also be the sign of something more serious, was the proximate cause of his death.

The suit states that "The FEMS report of the incident indicates that it does not appear that an extensive discussion of risks and possible consequences of not seeking medical care and treatment took place,"

Allegedly the paramedics advised Mr. Givens "that he only needed to take Pepto Bismol."

The lawsuit seeks $17 million in damages, and follows on the heels of several high profile EMS related stories involving DC FEMS.

For more on the story.  And more.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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