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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