Brother Sues Ambulance Company After Sister’s Death

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

PEMBROKE (CBS) — Haunted by his sister’s death, the brother of a Pembroke woman is suing the country’s largest ambulance company he claims is responsible.

Barbara Grimes died two years ago, five days after EMTs with American Medical Response allegedly dropped the 68-year-old woman on her head as they transported her from her dialysis treatment in Plymouth to a waiting ambulance.

“She didn’t die from a heart attack. She didn’t die from a stroke. She died as she was spilled out of a gurney,” said her brother Peter Zacarelli.

The family attorney says she suffered brain hemorrhaging and a broken neck. By the time she reached Jordan Hospital in Plymouth Barbara Grimes was unconscious and died five days later.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

Attorney Marc Breakston says she couldn’t have been properly secured.

“If she’s strapped in on the stretcher, how does she get a huge bruise and bleeding on the back of the head,” he said.

The EMTs claimed there was a mechanical problem with the stretcher and it suddenly collapsed. But a Department of Public Health investigation found the stretcher was never inspected and that could not be proven.

Peter Zacarelli says he didn’t know his phone conversation with his sister that day would be his last. A diabetic, she was undergoing dialysis for several months. He expected that she would soon be able to move in with him and be cared for by the family.

“My sister was not a bag of garbage dropped on the pavement. This was a human being and someone we loved as a family,” he said.

American Medical Response says it doesn’t comment on legal matters. But Zacarelli wants the company held accountable for negligence.

“My sister was killed by AMR. Now they don’t want to take responsibility,” he said.

One EMT was censured by the state and ordered to undergo retraining.

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  • Ken

    this brother is a bag of garbage… accidents happen, thats why we have an emergency response system. you can’t just open a lawsuit against everyone that has an accident, just like you cant sue mcdonalds for making people fat. this guy is greedy, selfish, ignorant, and probably should be dropped on his head. people like him make me sick. it is people like peter z that embarrass the united states. just pathetic. he should be thanking the ambulance team for trying to help, not taking them for what they are worth.

    • Cynic

      Ken… You aren’t Human.

    • ken takes it in the backside

      Yes, thank you guys for dropping her and getting hurt. I hope someone in ur family gets done the same way so others can post comments like yours .

    • Gin Russell

      Actually a man in Brazil sued the McDonald’s he worked for for making him fat. And he won.

    • scott

      It was not an accident, it was carelessness and lack of knowledge of the equipment, use to work for AMR this is no isolated incident.

      Get a clue, there should be no reason that anyone should end up with a broken neck from a simple dialysis run.


  • Angry Ken

    how about this: i’d like to sue Peter Zacarelli today due to the fact that he made me so angry at work so early this morning. Our lawyers will be in touch.

    • Gloria

      To Angry Ken,

      How about if that were your loved one dropped on the pavement accidentally or otherwise and in pain. How would you feel? What if that were You on that gurney in Pain!! Would you want your loved one to pay for the funeral or who dropped you?

  • Alix

    A woman died — this isn’t a frivolous lawsuit. The company should be held accountable.

  • Cynic

    My sister worked at Boston City for years. On day a Woman slipped in the Bathtub at a Nursing home in Dorchester.As the Ambulance was on it way to BCH the Back doors flew open and the stretcher went out the back. At BCH my sister questioned the Amublance peoples story because she found a great deal of sand and gravel inbeded in the Patients skin that could not have come from a fall in a bathtub….She was told to shut up. This was over 50 years ago…The world never cahnges.

  • cynic

    Don’t feel sorry for AMR The guy that owns it is a Multi-Billionaire.

  • Family Of Barbara Grimes, Dropped By Ambulance Crew, Gets $1.5M « CBS Boston

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