$15.5 Million in Damage Claims Filed In Bellingham Intubation Case

Three claims totaling $15.5 Million have been filed by family members of a man whose body was used to practice intubation skills in a Bellingham, Washington firehouse. The claims are a pre-requisite to filing civil suits against municipalities.

On July 31, 2018 the body of Bradley Ginn Sr. was at a Bellingham fire station awaiting pickup to be delivered to a funeral home. Personnel used his body to practice endotracheal intubation skills. According to news reports, an investigation into the incident concluded that the use of bodies to practice intubation skills had been an accepted practice in the Bellingham Fire Department for the past 25 years. That finding was disputed by Bellingham Fire Chief Bill Newbold who released a written statement saying “This incident was neither normal nor acceptable.”

The claims were filed by Ginn’s wife Jai, ($15 Million), his son Bradley Jr. ($200,000), and his daughter Aurieona ($350,000). The claims seek compensation for physical and mental pain, as well as “stress and anguish resulting in economic and non-economic damages” caused by the “intentional and negligent care of a body and abuse by city of Bellingham employees, including but not limited to the Bellingham Fire Department.” The claims also allege unauthorized invasion and desecration of a dead body without permission.

The city has 60 days to settle the claims, or the claimants can file lawsuits against the city. Twelve members of the Bellingham Fire Department have already been disciplined, including an EMS division chief and EMS captain who resigned.  More on the story.

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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