Inadequate restraint during hospital transport

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Case in Point

August 20, 2013

Inadequate restraint during hospital transport 

The plaintiffs alleged that an ambulance company negligently used quick-release soft restraints while transporting a mentally ill patient, leading to his fatal jump from the vehicle into traffic. Suit also alleged negligent monitoring. The jury awarded $1 million. Weiner v. P. Ambul., Inc.

Brett Weiner, a 21-year-old man with a history of mental health problems, expressed a desire to harm himself. He was taken to a hospital, where his condition stabilized. Arrangements were then made to transfer him to another facility.

Emergency technicians from Pacific Ambulance, Inc., arrived at the hospital to transfer Weiner and placed Velcro wrist restraints on him. While riding in the back of an ambulance on the way to the second facility, Weiner removed the wrist restraints, jumped out of the vehicle into oncoming freeway traffic, and was struck and killed by another vehicle.

Weiner’s parents sued Pacific Ambulance, alleging it negligently used quick-release soft restraints during the transfer, not leather restraints or something stronger. The plaintiffs argued that in the four years before Weiner’s death, 20 other patients in the defendant’s care had been able to remove their quick-release restraints. Suit also claimed negligent monitoring of Weiner in the ambulance.

The jury awarded $1 million.

Citation: Weiner v. P. Ambul., Inc., No. 30-2012-00550614 (Cal., Orange Co. Super. July 24, 2013).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Jon M. Jackson, Laguna Hills, Calif.

Plaintiff expert: Brian Mathews, emergency transportation, Mission Viejo, Calif.


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