Lost Finger Prompts Suit Against LA County Fire

A man who suffered the traumatic amputation of a finger on July 4, 2020, has filed suit against the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center claiming they “negligently misplaced and lost” the finger. Leon Henry Gibson III filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging “professional negligence.”

The complaint does not explain the circumstances leading to the amputation, nor does it explain where the finger was allegedly “misplaced.” As explained in the complaint:

  • On July 4, 2020, at approximately 11 :07 p.m., Mr. Gibson was transported by the County of Los Angeles Fire Department to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Emergency Room and Hospital for partial traumatic amputation of his right hand. Defendant County of Los Angeles Fire Department’s paramedics and defendant HARBOR-UCLA’s emergency room staff negligently misplaced and lost plaintiff LEON HENRY GIBSON Ill’s severed finger.
  • Accordingly, the finger could not be re-attached.
  • [D]efendants, and each of them, negligently failed to exercise the proper degree of knowledge and skill in examining, diagnosing, treating, and caring for plaintiff and caused plaintiff to suffer the injuries and damages hereinafter alleged, including but not limited to the permanent loss of his finger.
  • Defendants and each of them breached their duty to plaintiff LEON HENRY GIBSON III to provide skillful management of his body, health condition and injury, including but not limited to observation, examination, testing, diagnosis, care and treatment.
  • Plaintiff is informed and believes and therefore alleges that said injuries would not have occurred if not for the negligence of defendants.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

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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