Family of Dead Bellingham Man Who Was Intubated Without Consent Files Personal Injury Claims for more than $15 million
The body of a man who died on the way to the hospital was used for training purposes by 11 Bellingham firefighters on July 31, 2018. Now the family is suing for more than $15.5 million in damages in three separate personal injury claims.
The Bellingham Fire Department employees, including two office workers, admitted to performing “tube checks” (endotracheal intubations) on the body of Bradley Ginn Sr. while he was on the floor of Station 1 waiting to be picked up and taken to a funeral home.
Personal Injury Claims brought against the Bellingham Fire Department
Personal injury claim #1
On October 4, Jai Ginn, a family member of Bradley Ginn Sr., filed a complaint stating that she has suffered physical and mental pain, disability, and “stress and anguish resulting in economic and non-economic damages” caused by the “intentional and negligent care of a body and abuse by city of Bellingham employees, including but not limited to the Bellingham Fire Department.” She also made claims for the unauthorized invasion and desecration of a dead body without permission and possible wrongful death. She is seeking $15 million in damages.
Personal injury claim #2
On October 16, Bradley Ginn Sr.’s son, Bradley Ginn Jr., filed a complaint against the Bellingham Fire Department for their “reprehensible” behavior. He says the intubations took place during a time when family members were trying to find Ginn Sr.’s body. They claim went on to say that Ginn Sr. had a do-not-resuscitate directive, which prohibited the use of invasive procedures such as intubation. He is seeking $200,000 in damages for the emotional distress caused by the department’s actions, as well as asking the city to implement a written policy that prohibits similar conduct in the future.
Personal injury claim #3
On October 9, a personal injury claim was filed on behalf of Aurieona Ginn, Ginn Sr.’s daughter, seeking $350,000 in damages for emotional distress caused by “The disregard for the dignity of her late father.” Her lawyer says the fire department did not seek or receive permission to perform intubations on her father.
The city has 60 days to reach a settlement claim with her, the records state.
Change in policy
Bellingham Fire chief, Bill Newbold, announced in early October that the department would no longer allow the practice of tube checking after a patient had been pronounced dead and that any further procedures may only be provided with the consent of next of kin or (durable power of attorney). A policy is also being updated by EMS Division Chief Scott Rykman and Assistant Chief Jay Comfort for what happens when a patient dies in an ambulance.
Resignations and disciplinary action
The Bellingham Fire Department disclosed that a ranking officer resigned and another retired in the wake of “serious misconduct”. Twelve Bellingham Fire Department employees were disciplined for their actions on July 31.
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