LA County Settles EMS Claim for $250k

The County of Los Angeles has settled a negligence claim filed by the family of a 17 year old victim who was allowed to decline aid, but later lapsed into a vegetative coma where he has remained for over two years.

The case arose on November 17, 2009, when Andriy Sviridov of Los Angeles was injured in an altercation in a McDonald’s parking lot in West Hollywood. LA County firefighters responded and evaluated  Sviridov, and allowed him to decline aid. According the department records, his vitals signs were normal and he did not want to be examined or transported. He was release to go home with his older brother.

The following morning L.A. City FD paramedics responded to Sviridov’s home where he was  unconscious, pupils fixed and dilated, and suffering from bleeding in his brain. He has been in a persistent vegetative state since.

The family filed a claim against the county alleging the EMS personnel were negligent in not transporting Sviridov, but the claim was denied. In July, 2010, the family filed suit in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The county opted to settle the case for $250,000. Here is part of the settlement documentation, which explains more of the details of the case: LA County Claim

Incidentally, the age of consent for medical treatment in California is 15 years. See FAMILY CODE SECTION 6929, which read as follows:

6922.  (a) A minor may consent to the minor’s medical care or dental care if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

   (1) The minor is 15 years of age or older. …

In terms of why the county settled, the settlement documentation points to two relevant factors

First “After returning to the station, one member of the [LA County] crew apparently stated he had noticed that Sviridov was incontinent of urine. The paramedic completing the EMS form did not note that condition at the scene but added to the report.“

Second, when Sviridov was found the next day by LAFD medics, he had a small hematoma to his left occipital lobe which was not mentioned in the LA County reports

The case was titled Andriv Sviridov. et at v. County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC 441126. More on the story.

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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