The Chicago Fire Department paramedics who treated a 13-year-old Chicago girl claim that their actions were appropriate and did not contribute to her death. According to her family, what started as a bad asthma attack ended with the child’s death due to a series of mistakes. Those mistakes are expected to lead to a large settlement, currently awaiting approval by the Finance Committee of the City Council.
The girl received improper medical care at the hands of the emergency medical personnel, which was then made worse by a car accident involving the ambulance carrying her. The paramedics failed to follow accepted medical guidelines when they intubated her, missing her trachea and failing to restore the flow of oxygen to her lungs. They failed to properly inspect the tube, and so never caught the error. After the car accident, instead of proceeding to the hospital right away, the paramedics waited at the scene even though no one was injured and the little girl lay dying in the ambulance. She did not get to the hospital until almost 40 minutes after the paramedics were called. She was pronounced dead at Trinity Hospital shortly thereafter.
The errors that led to this girl’s death should never have occurred. By holding the parties involved responsible for their actions, the girl’s family helps ensure that this type of incident is prevented through proper training and responsible medical practices. The settlement may also help them gain a measure of satisfaction and closure.
It was an unfortunate tragedy and we sincerely hope that the Chicago Fire Department takes this outcome seriously. The policies and errors that contributed to the death of a 13-year-old girl need to be analyzed and corrected.