Two Illinois paramedics have been charged with murder after a patient suffering from alcohol withdrawal died while in their care due to their “indifference” to his condition.
On December 18, three Sangamon County, Illinois, police officers responded to a call reporting many people inside a home with firearms. According to a news release from the Springfield Police Department, when officers got on the scene, they discovered the resident, Earl Moore Jr., 35, was suffering from hallucinations caused by alcohol withdrawal.
An ambulance arrived shortly after to transfer Moore to the hospital. The arriving paramedics were “indifferent” to the patient’s needs and did not assist him in walking to the stretcher (via Springfield Police Department):
At approximately 2:18 a.m., the ambulance personnel arrived and were escorted into the residence. A female paramedic made contact with the patient and instructed him to walk to the ambulance. It is clear based on the officers¶body-worn camera footage that the patient was not able to walk and the medical personnel were not offering any assistance. The three officers took turns helping the patient through the residence and onto the stretcher outside. The body-worn camera footage shows the medical personnel place the patient on the stretcher in a prone position and secured him to the stretcher prior to transport.
The Springfield Police Department was later notified the patient had passed after arriving at the hospital. Chief Ken Scarlette requested an independent investigation be conducted by the Illinois State Police (ISP). The Springfield Police Department has cooperated fully with the ISP investigation, providing reports, body-worn camera footage and other requested information.
The Springfield Police Officers who responded to this incident recognized the patient’s need and requested medical assistance for the patient. When those personnel acted indifferently to the patient’s condition, the officers took steps to assist the patient, to get him the care he needed, even waiting on scene to ensure the medical personnel loaded the patient into the ambulance. The officers, who are not emergency medical professionals, are not trained nor equipped to provide the necessary medical treatment or to transport patients in this type of situation. The officers turned over care of the patient to the licensed, medical professionals at the scene in accordance with Springfield Police Department policy.
The men and women of the Springfield Police Department join the Springfield community in grieving the unnecessary loss of life and pledge to work with the medical care providers in our area to ensure the citizens of Springfield receive the utmost care and consideration in their time of need.
A police body camera video from the incident was published by Sangamon County. A female paramedic can be seen urging at Moore to rise up and walk to the ambulance in the footage.
“Get up. Quit acting stupid,” the paramedic, identified by The New York Times as Peggy Finley, said to the man. “I am not playing with you tonight.”
“You’re going to have to walk ‘cause we ain’t carrying you,” she added. “I am seriously not in the mood for this dumb s***.”
Watch The Video:
Moore was helped to his feet by two cops in the room, while a third officer retrieved his jacket and other possessions for him to take to the hospital. He stood up for a few seconds before falling. Moore was helped back up and slowly taken to the ambulance by police officers, collapsing many times along the way.
The footage does not reveal whether or not the paramedics assisted Moore onto the stretcher. According to authorities, he was strapped into the stretcher in a “prone position” and died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The patient died of “compressional and positional asphyxia due to prone facedown restraint on a paramedic transportation cot/stretcher by tightened straps across back and lower body in the setting of lethargy and underlying chronic alcoholism,” according to a coroner’s autopsy report obtained by CNN.
LifeStar Ambulance Service, Inc., the company that employs the two paramedics, told ABC News that it had “no comment” on the probe.
According to the Times, Finley and her coworker Peter Cadigan are being jailed in the Sangamon County Detention Facility on $1 million bail. According to Finley’s lawyer, “having a poor attitude” is not a crime and “it’s the first thing people want to refer to.”
He went on to say that her “indifference” and “lack of bedside manner” had nothing to do with the patient’s death.