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Family of woman dropped on head by ambulance crew gets $1.5M

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — The family of a woman who suffered a brain hemorrhage and died days after an ambulance crew dropped her on her head has been awarded $1.5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Middlesex Superior Court jury ruled Monday in favor of the family of Barbara Grimes in its lawsuit against American Medical Response, the largest ambulance company in the U.S.

The family said in the lawsuit that Grimes, 67, was being transported in January 2009 after receiving dialysis in Plymouth when a pair of emergency medical technicians rolling her into an ambulance tipped over her stretcher, causing Grimes to fall and hit her head on the ground. She died five days later.

“This was an unnecessary death which should have been prevented by simple precautions,” said the family’s attorney, Marc Breakstone. “If the ambulance crew had only followed company safety policies regarding stretcher operation, it would not have toppled over. This needless death was easily preventable.”

Grimes’ brother, Peter Zacarelli Jr., called the death “senseless.”

“These EMTs should have been more careful,” he said. “They were not paying attention when they rolled the stretcher sideways without holding it to make sure it did not tip over. It is shocking that they could be so careless.”

AMR said the stretcher malfunctioned, but Breakstone said no defect was ever found.

A company spokesman didn’t immediately return a call Tuesday.

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