On January 9th, a judge in Illinois ruled that prosecutors had presented enough evidence to justify first-degree murder charges against two paramedics accused of strapping a 35-year-old patient, Earl Moore, facedown on a stretcher. Moore later died as a result of the incident.
Under Illinois law, a first-degree murder charge can be filed when a defendant knows that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm. The two paramedics, Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan, face between 20 and 60 years in prison if convicted.
Moore’s family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Finley, Cadigan and their employer. In the complaint, the family alleges that the paramedics were unnecessarily rough with Moore and that their actions directly contributed to his death.
“They tied him down like some kind of animal and killed him,” said Moore’s mother, Rose Washington. “My baby suffocated because of their actions.”
The incident happened in the early morning hours of December 11th, when Moore called 911 due to a medical emergency. When paramedics arrived, they found Moore in respiratory distress. The lawsuit alleges that the paramedics attempted to restrain Moore but he resisted. The paramedics then allegedly restrained him in a face-down position.
The family is seeking damages for medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship and pain and suffering.
The Chicago Fire Department, which employs the paramedics, has yet to comment on the lawsuit or the criminal charges. It remains to be seen how this case will turn out, but it certainly serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of recklessness when it comes to the safety of patients.