Second Suit Filed Over Washington State Intubation Training

A second federal lawsuit has been filed by family members of a man whose body was used to practice intubation skills in a Bellingham, Washington firehouse. Jai Ginn filed earlier this month naming the City of Bellingham, eleven firefighters, and the Whatcom County Medical Program‘s director.

The body of Ginn’s husband, Bradley Ginn Sr., was used for the intubation training on July 31, 2018, while at a Bellingham fire station awaiting delivery to a funeral home. Jai had previously filed a claim for $15 million in damages with the city. The current complaint does not list an amount sought.

The complaint contains two counts, a denial of due process claim under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, and a tortious interference with a dead body claim. Quoting from the complaint:

Due process:

  • As described more fully above, all of the Defendants, while acting individually, jointly, and in a conspiracy, as well as under the color of law and within the scope of their employment, deprived Plaintiff of her constitution right to due process as the next of kin to Bradley Ginn.
  • In the manner more fully described above, the Defendants deliberately and intentionally, and without consent of his next of kin (the Plaintiff), repeatedly intubated Mr. Bradley Ginn on the floor of the garage of the Fire Department, using his body as, (1) a hasty means of meeting recertification protocol, (2) a means to conduct an impromptu lesson allowing a paramedic to teach a non-certified fireman in the skill of intubation, (3) a way to test new and yet untested intubation equipment, and (4) a way for two office workers to perform intubations for no legitimate purpose. Absent this misconduct, there would have been no violation of the Plaintiff’s constitutional right to Due Process.
  • The misconduct described in this Count was objectively unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally, with deliberate and willful indifference to the Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. As a result of the deprivation of her constitutional rights, the Plaintiff has suffered damages.

Tortious Interference:

  • The City of Bellingham, through its employees, committed the tort of Tortious Interference With a Dead Body by knowingly and intentionally misusing Mr. Ginn’s body by repeatedly performing unnecessary and unauthorized intubations.
  • As a direct and proximate cause of the City of Bellingham’s unlawful conduct, Plaintiff has suffered severe emotional distress, and damages.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

Last month, Bradley Ginn Sr.’s brother, Robert Fox, filed a federal lawsuit over the incident.

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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