Ohio Suit Claims Narcan Administration to Respiratory Distress Patient Led to Quadrapalegia

The family of an Ohio man who claims responders administered Narcan to him when he was suffering from asthma-related respiratory distress, has filed suit contending their malpractice rendered him a quadriplegic. Nieawna Russell filed suit on behalf of her husband, Jimmy Earl Gamblin II, naming Harrison Township, the Harrison Township Fire Department, and several John/Jane Doe members of the fire department as defendants.

Gamblin has been declared legally incompetent and Russell was appointed as his guardian. According to the complaint:

  • On July 13, 2022*, Mr. Gamblin, while at his residence … experienced respiratory distress which necessitated Mrs. Russell to call 911 requesting paramedic and emergency medical services.
  • Upon information and belief, Defendants dispatched a team of paramedics to Mr. Gamblin’s residence to assist with his respiratory distress.
  • Upon arrival at Mr. Gamblin’s residence, Defendants observed Mr. Gamblin kneeling on his front porch in acute respiratory distress, non-responsive to paramedic instructions, and unable to follow basic commands.
  • Defendants were aware that Mr. Gamblin had a prior history of asthma and failed to get relief from his inhaler prior to Defendants’ arrival at the residence.
  • Mr. Gamblin was experiencing obvious respiratory distress.
  • Defendants had a duty to provide timely and appropriate emergency medical attention to Mr. Gamblin.
  • Defendants willfully, wantonly and/or recklessly failed to provide timely emergency medical services to Mr. Gamblin.
  • Upon finally providing Mr. Gamblin with emergency medical services and loading him on an ambulance, Defendants proceeded to administer at least three (3) doses or naloxone HCI or Narcan® for a suspected opioid overdose while transporting him to Grandview Medical Center for further medical care.
  • As a result of Defendants’ willful, wanton and/or reckless conduct, Mr. Gamblin sustained anoxic encephalopathy rendering him a quadriplegic.
  • Defendants acts or omissions described herein were willful, wanton and/or reckless.
  • As a result or Defendants’ acts or omissions and wrongful conduct, Mr. Gamblin also suffered unnecessary loss of personal dignity. extreme pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, catastrophic and disabling injuries, including permanent and substantial physical disfigurement, loss of use of limbs, loss of bodily organ systems. medical expenses and lost wages.

The suit alleges negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and willful and wanton conduct. Here is a copy of the complaint:

Fire Law Note: The date of the incident (July 13, 2022) appears to be a typo as the date appointment of guardian was July 7, 2022 and date of suit was July 12, 2022. It was more likely July 13, 2021.

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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