A former medical transport driver is facing criminally negligent homicide charges after a nursing home resident died in his transport. According to the New York Attorney General’s office, the driver – Juan Garcia – worked for Maeleen Ambulette Transport Inc. at the time of the accident. Mr. Garcia was transporting a resident back to the resident’s facility after the patient underwent dialysis.
When the medical transport came to a sudden stop, the resident was flung from her wheelchair. According to the attorney general’s office, Mr. Garcia admitted he had not buckled the resident’s seatbelt. While the certified nursing assistant who was also present in the ambulette asked Mr. Garcia that he drive the injured resident to the hospital, he drove to Gold Crest Care Center instead.
Unfortunately, the resident had fractured a hip and needed to undergo surgery. The patient succumbed to complications about a month later. According to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, even the most basic safety precautions would have prevented the accident involving this vulnerable nursing home resident. If convicted, Mr. Garcia faces up to four years in prison.
Certainly not an isolated incident
An alarming number of people suffer injuries in transit when going to a rehabilitation clinic, dialysis clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office when traveling from their home or nursing facility. Most of the injuries that patients suffer with medical transport accidents are not because of a collision or crash. Oftentimes it is because of negligent or unsafe handling by transport company employees.
Remember that the patients who use medical transport services are often disabled or elderly. This means limited mobility and a reduced chance to avoid accidents. Drivers must have special training to safely transport patients to their destination without injury or incident.
What are the types of medical transport injuries?
There are countless ways that patients may be injured if the medical transport companies do not provide adequate training. This is not just about safe driving. It is also about securing patients while in transit. Some of the examples of medical transport accidents include:
- Accidents on sidewalks, elevators, parking lots, doctor’s offices, hospitals or nursing homes
- Accidents due to unsecured wheelchairs in a vehicle
- Accidents during transport in and out of the medical transport vehicle
- Accidents because the resident is not properly secured to a stretcher or backboard
- Accidents getting into or out of a wheelchair before or after transport
- Wheelchair lift malfunctions
Problems may take some time
Given that many of these patients are in an already fragile state, even accidents that appear relatively minor at first may eventually evolve into a serious situation. Given the fact that transport companies and their insurance carriers have legal options on their side in order to protect their financial interests, it is important that people who are injured because of negligence have someone to fight for them.
It may take expert testimony and extensive research into the victims existing medical condition to prove that the accident did in fact cause serious problems later on. This is one of the reasons it is important to always seek legal representation if you or a loved one is injured during medical transportation.