Ohio Fire Department and Medics Sued for Wrongful Death

The estate of an Ohio man who died of an overdose while being transported to the hospital, has filed suit against two fire department medics and the City of Middletown. William “Billy” Jeffreys arrested while being transported by a Middletown Fire Department ambulance from a city warming center to the Atrium Medical Center on March 7, 2022.

The complaint alleges that during the transport, the medic accompanying Jeffreys in the patient compartment failed to monitor and render aid. Quoting from the complaint:

  • This complaint involves multiple causes of action, including: emergency medical liability for willful and/or wanton conduct, wrongful death, spoliation of evidence and falsification of medical records, and fraud.
  • These causes of action arose while William “Billy” Jefferys was in the care of City of Middletown Division of Fire emergency medical technicians: Defendant Paramedic Brian Russell Mariano and Defendant EMT-B Kyle Lee Baughman.
  • Through Defendant Mariano’s and Baughman’s utter and complete disregard for the Emergency Medical protocols for the City of Middletown Division of Fire as well as their violations of the standard of care for emergency medical technicians of their respective levels of training, Billy died while in transport from a warming shelter to Atrium Medical Center on a City of Middletown ambulance on the night of March 7, 2022.
  • Defendants Mariano and Baughman provided no interventions whatsoever to prevent Billy Jefferys from succumbing to a toxic drug overdose.
  • Instead, they allowed nature to take its course.
  • When Mariano and Baughman discovered that Billy Jefferys had died, they laughed.
  • They then attempted to hand Billy Jefferys’ corpse over to the nurses at Atrium Medical Center, acting as if he was alive.
  • As a final insult, Defendants Mariano and Baughman falsified and withheld information in their Prehospital Care Report in order to avoid the discovery of their misdeeds.

The complaint goes into much greater factual detail that may be of interest to medics and EMS instructors. There were a number of discrepancies between what the medics reported and information obtained from patient monitoring equipment, as well as video evidence from the medic unit and hospital security cams.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office conducted a criminal investigation into what occurred, as did a special prosecutor for the City of Middletown. No criminal charges resulted from either investigation. A copy of the Sheriffs’ Office investigative report is included as an appendix to the complaint.  Both Mariano and Baughman have been sued personally. The complaint seeks punitive damages

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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