Oklahoma Fire Department Sued For Wrongful Death

The Skiatook Fire Department is being sued by the estate of a man who died in 2021 after not being transported to the hospital. James Lee Bodley passed away sometime between January 18, 2021 when he first called for medical aid, and January 20, 2021 when his family discovered his body.

Bodley’s estate filed suit in Tulsa County District Court against the city of Skiatook, the Skiatook Fire Department and Skiatook EMS alleging negligence and wrongful death. Quoting from the complaint:

  • Defendant Skiatook EMS is operated by Defendant Skiatook Fire Department which is operated by Defendant City of Skiatook
  • On or about January 18, 2021, the decedent was at home and began experiencing pain in his chest. Decedent contacted the Skiatook EMS service who responded to the call and arrived at decedent’s home.
  • Upon Arrival EMS personal observed decedent sitting in hi recliner with cowboy boots and jeans on.
  • Even though decedent called EMS, upon contact by EMS personnel decedent questioned why EMS was at his house.
  • The EMS personal thereafter failed to properly assess decedent’s condition, failed to properly treat decedent, and failed to transport decedent to the hospital.
  • EMS personnel left decedent in his recliner.
  • That on January 18, 2021, EMS personnel failed to generate a run report or otherwise document the incident.
  • That on January 20, 2021, decedent was found dead in his home by a family member.
  • Decedent’s family member called EMS.
  • Upon arrival of EMS personnel EMS personnel, observed gnats flying around decedent Bodley.
  • EMS personnel found decedent Bodley sitting in his recliner with his cowboy boots and jeans on.
  • Decedent Bodley’s head was leaned back, and his mouth was open and was without a shirt.
  • When EMS personnel administered an EKG, it was discovered that decedent still had “leads” on his body from the January 18, 2021, treatment provided by the EMS service.
  • Decedent did not have a pulse and was pronounced dead.
  • It was noted that rigor mortis had set in.
  • That Defendants’ actions or inactions caused the wrongful death of decedent Bodley.

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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