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Student Injured at High School Football Game

In a recent opinion from the California Court of Appeal, student was injured during a high school football game.  During the game, he suffered a severe impact and began complaining that he was in serious pain.

footballAt that point, his coach shined a flashlight in his eyes, and it made him wince in pain.  At every football game, there is an ambulance crew on standby at the event. The coached alerted paramedics, and they came over and examined the injured student. They also saw he was unsteady while walking.  It took the crew minutes to get to him.The paramedic found the student sitting upright on a trainer’s table on the sidelines and became to ask him a series of questions.  He asked questions and looked for visual cues to determine what his score was on the Glasgow Coma Scale.  As our Boston personal injury attorneys can explain, doctors and other medical personnel will use the Glasgow Coma Scale, because it a clinical tool specifically designed to assess not only if a victim is in a coma, but also their relative level of consciousness.  This will be listed on many medical records, and the test will likely be administered various times in different examinations.  The scores can often be used to help prove elements in personal injury or medical malpractice case.

According to the paramedic’s testimony, the plaintiff had a perfect score of 15 out of a total of 15, and therefore was not suffering from coma or loss of consciousness condition, as would typically be the case with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  On the other hand, the plaintiff argued that the paramedic did not properly administer or interpret the results of the Glasgow Coma Scale test.

The paramedic recommended the student go the hospital for further evaluation, just to be on the safe side. By this point, about 5 minutes had passed, and they requested a backup ambulance to take him the hospital, so they didn’t have to leave the game where they were on standby.  It took another eight minutes for that ambulance to arrive and another 4 to leave the field.

The ride to the hospital was another 30 minutes.  At the hospital, he was diagnosed with subdural hematoma on the right side of his brain, and they rushed him into emergency surgery.  He was also given drugs to reduce the swelling. He suffered posterior artery stroke.  His family sued the EMTs and their company for gross negligence in not discovering the issue and the lack of urgency in getting him to a hospital.  Defendant moved to summary judgment on grounds there was no evidence presented to show the delay was unreasonable or that they did anything wrong in his assessment and care.  The court granted this motion, and the case was dismissed. Unfortunately, the appellate court agreed that there was no genuine issue as to a material fact, which is the standard for granting a motion for summary judgment, and affirmed the dismissal.

If you have suffered personal injury in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Sanchez v. Kern Emergency Medical Transportation Corp., February 2, 2017, California Court of Appeal

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Golfer Injured by Portable Toilet, Feb. 2, 2017, Boston Brain Injury Lawyer Blog