Lawsuit Claims EMS Worker Disrobed Injured Woman

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A woman who was injured in a motorcycle wreck has filed suit, saying an EMS worker unnecessarily disrobed her after giving her an extra dose of morphine.

Holley Shalene Andrews is asking over $1.5 million in the Circuit Court complaint against Hamilton County, Hamilton County Emergency Services and EMS workers Roger Davis and R. Smith.

Ms. Andrews said she was hurt in a wreck on East Brainerd Road on Oct. 6, 2006. She said she had visible abrasions to her right knee and her right hand.

She said EMS workers Davis and Smith came to the scene. She said one of the men rolled her over and cut the back of her outer jacket, tank top and sports bra. She said she was placed onto a gurney and put in an ambulance.

The suit said R. Smith "in one fast motion and while keeping his gaze directly into the plaintiff's eyes, removed plaintiff's outer jacket, tank top and sports bra, then completely covered her with a blanket." She said he did not touch her pants.

She said R. Smith then exited the back of the vehicle, leaving her alone with Roger Smith.

Ms. Andrews said she was given two doses of morphine. She said EMS Smith gave her a third dose, though she did not ask for it or agree to it.

The suit says he then cut her pants and underwear and removed them "against her wishes and directives."

It says he pulled her underwear down to her knees and removed the blanket.

Ms. Andrews said she "demanded an explanation" and was told he could lose his job if he did not "thoroughly inspect" her entire body before they arrived at the hospital.

The suit, filed by atttorney Robin Flores, says, "To the best of plaintiff's knowledge and belief, defendants county and HCEMS had prior knowledge of similar misconduct of Davis as alleged in this complaint."

It says Ms. Andrews suffered "pain, humiliation, fear and anxiety."

The suit asks compensatory damages up to the tort liability limits, $1 million punitive damages and $500,000 for "actual medical malpractice damages."

Davis is no longer with Hamilton County EMS.

Here is the complaint:

PLAINTIFF, through counsel, makes the following as her cause of actions against the defendants:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. Jurisdiction is proper in this matter. This is an action to address the tortious negligence and intentional torts of the defendants under the Government Tort Liability Act, TENN. CODE ANN. §§29-20-101 et seq., TENN. CODE ANN. §29-20-310 and the defendants’ intentional and negligent tortious actions against the plaintiff under the common law of the State of Tennessee.
2. Venue is proper in this matter. All acts complained of occurred within Hamilton County.
3. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Plaintiff was a citizen and resident of Hamilton County, Tennessee.
4. At all times relevant to this cause of action, the individual defendants and the governmental defendant were residents of Hamilton County.
THE PARTIES
5. At all times relevant to this cause of action, defendant HAMILTON COUNTY GOVERNMENT (“County”) is a political sub-division of the State of Tennessee organized and existing under the laws of the State of Tennessee.
a. Since 1992, the County assumed responsibility to provide ambulance and emergency medical services to the citizens of Hamilton County, Tennessee.
b. The County established defendant Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services to provide ambulance and emergency medical services to the citizens of Hamilton County, Tennessee.
c. The County provides the funds and facilities for defendant Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services, to include funds for the supervision, discipline, training, hiring, and retention of employees of defendant Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services.
7. Although Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services (“HCEMS”) was at one time listed with the Tennessee Secretary of State as a “for profit” corporation, at all times relevant to this cause of action, HCEMS is an entity and arm of the County created to provide ambulance and emergency medical services to the citizens of Hamilton County, Tennessee.
a. At all times relevant to this cause of action, HCEMS is responsible for the supervision, discipline, training, hiring, and retention of its individual employees.
b. At all times relevant to this cause of action, HCEMS employed defendants Davis and Smith as emergency medial technicians (“EMT”) as defined under the Emergency Medical Services Act of 1983.
8. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Defendant Roger Davis (“Davis”) acted in his official capacity as agent, servant and employee, as defined under TENN. CODE ANN. §29-20-102, for the County and HCEMS. Plaintiff sues this defendant in his individual and official capacities.
a. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Davis was a licensed emergency medial technician as defined under the Emergency Medical Services Act of 1983.
9. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Defendant Smith (“Smith”) acted in his official capacity as agent, servant and employee, as defined under TENN. CODE ANN. §29-20-102, for the City. Plaintiff sues this defendant in his individual and official capacities.
a. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Smith was a licensed emergency medial technician as defined under the Emergency Medical Services Act of 1983.
FACTUAL BASIS OF COMPLAINT
10. On October 6, 2006, plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident on East Brainerd Road.
11. As a result of the accident, plaintiff suffered visible abrasions to her right knee and her right hand.
12. Defendants Davis and Smith were dispatched to provide emergency medical services to plaintiff.
13. Upon the arrival of defendants Davis and Smith, plaintiff was fully clothed.
14. Plaintiff believes that either defendant Davis or Smith rolled plaintiff over to examine her back, and that one or the other cut the back of her outer jacket, tank-top, and sport’s bra, but did not remove said clothing.
15. Defendants Davis and Smith, along with an unidentified third male placed plaintiff onto a gurney while plaintiff was fully clothed.
16. Defendants Davis and Smith then placed plaintiff into the EMS vehicle.
17. Plaintiff believes that defendant Smith appeared bigger than defendant Davis and wore a hat at the time of this incident.
18. Defendant Smith then, in one fast motion and while keeping his gaze directly into the plaintiff’s eyes, removed plaintiff’s outer jacket, tank-top, and sport’s bra, then completely covered her with a blanket.
19. Defendant Smith did not remove or even touch plaintiff’s pants.
20. Defendant Davis was present for the actions as stated in 18 and 19.
21. Defendant Smith then exited the back of the vehicle and left plaintiff alone with defendant Davis.
22. While enroute to the hospital, defendant Davis inserted an intravenous drip (“I.V.”) into her arm.
23. Defendant Davis then injected morphine into the I.V.
24. Plaintiff requested only two injections of morphine of defendant Davis.
25. Defendant Davis injected a third dose of morphine.
26. Plaintiff neither requested nor agreed to the third dose of morphine.
27. Defendant Davis then cut plaintiff’s pants and underwear and completely removed plaintiff’s pants against plaintiff’s express wishes and directives.
28. Defendant Davis then pulled plaintiff’s underwear down to her knees.
29. Defendant Davis also removed the blanket from plaintiff’s lower body without explanation.
30. Plaintiff demanded from Davis an explanation to his removal of her underwear.
31. Defendant Davis’ response to plaintiff was that he could lose his job if he did not “thoroughly inspect” her entire body before they arrived at the hospital.
32. To the best of plaintiff’s knowledge and belief, no such policy exists that would have allowed defendant Davis to act as he did in 25 and 31.
33. As a result of the misconduct of defendant Davis, Davis rendered plaintiff completely nude in his presence while alone with Davis.
34. Defendant Davis failed to note the third injection of morphine on any records he created and he did not notify the Erlanger hospital medical personnel who subsequently treated plaintiff of the third morphine dose.
35. To the best of plaintiff’s knowledge and belief, Defendants County and HCEMS had prior knowledge of similar misconduct of Davis as alleged in this Complaint.
37. Despite this prior knowledge, Defendants County and HCEMS retained Davis.
38. Defendant Smith failed to monitor the actions of Davis, and failed to report the misconduct of Davis, thereby ensuring that Davis would be able to continue his conduct on the plaintiff.
39. As a direct and proximate result of the actions and omissions of the defendants, plaintiff suffered pain, humiliation, fear, anxiety, and was subjected to the threat of harm of morphine overdose and complications of unreported morphine injections and its interaction with other treatments provided by the Erlanger medical personnel who took over her care.
CAUSES OF ACTION
COUNT ONE: NEGLIGENCE
40. Pursuant to Rule 10.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the Plaintiff reasserts and incorporates 1 through 39.
41. Defendants owed a duty of care to Plaintiff.
42. County and HCEMS owed a duty of care to ensure the proper training and discipline of defendants Davis and Smith.
43. County and HCEMS owed a duty to plaintiff not to retain Davis after a similar act of misconduct, thereby subjecting plaintiff to the risk of harm she endured in this case.
44. Defendant Smith owed plaintiff a duty to report to her, to the Erlanger medical personnel, and to County and HCEMS, Davis’s misconduct.
45. County and HCEMS had a duty of care to the plaintiff to ensure that is agents were properly trained in the treatment of female patients, in the use of narcotic drugs such as morphine, and to ensure that their employees who commit such misconduct on patients are no longer able to be in a position to inflict similar injury to plaintiff or other citizens.
46. The Defendants thus breached their duty of care to the plaintiff.
47. The negligence of the defendants was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
COUNT TWO: MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
48. Pursuant to Rule 10.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the Plaintiff reasserts and incorporates 1 through 47 and avers that the misconduct of the defendants constitutes this tort.
COUNT THREE: COMMON LAW ASSAULT
49. Pursuant to Rule 10.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the Plaintiff reasserts and incorporates 1 through 47 and avers that the misconduct of the defendants constitutes this tort.
COUNT FOUR: COMMON LAW BATTERY
50. Pursuant to Rule 10.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the Plaintiff reasserts and incorporates 1 through 47 and avers that the misconduct of the defendants constitutes this tort.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands the following:
a. The service of process issue against the Defendants that requires them to file an Answer;
b. A trial in this cause;
c. Judgment against the Defendants for the maximum statutory amount allowed by the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act;
d. Judgment against the Defendants for all reasonable attorney’s fees, expenses, and tax court costs to all defendants;
e. Punitive damages in the amount of one million dollars;
f. Actual medical malpractice damages in the amount of five hundred thousand dollars;
g. Any and all other relief entitled to the Plaintiff.
Respectfully submitted,
By:_____________________________________________
ROBIN RUBEN FLORES, TENN. BPR #20751


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