paramedics in patient’s death; SPRINGFIELD, Ill. Two Illinois emergency room doctors should be charge with first-degree murder after a face-down patient on a gurney drown, a judge ruled Friday.
Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan are charge in the spring death of 35-year-old Earl Moore. They plead not guilty Friday and are being held in the Sangamon County Jail on $1 million bail each.
If convicted, Finley, 44, and Cadigan, 50, could face 20 to 60 years in prison. Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow made her decision after a 3 1/2-hour preliminary hearing.
Springfield police first responded to Moore’s home around 2 a.m. on Dec. 18. In police body camera video, a woman at the home told an officer that Moore had withdrawn from alcohol and hallucinations.
Finley and Cadigan were called into the apartment. Body camera video shows officers trying to get Moore to his feet so he can go out the door for medical attention, then placing him prone on a leg rest. Cadigan, the EMT, secured him in a harness while Paramedic Finley put a blanket over him.
Finley later told hospital officials and an Investigator that Moore was Combative.
paramedics in patient’s death; An autopsy reveale Moore died of “positional suffocation” and had two broken ribs, which State’s Attorney Dan Wright said at Friday’s hearing was because Moore was so tightly boun face down.
“There is no medical reason to move someone in the prone position,” Wright said.
Referring to the video, Wright continued: “Clearly, Mr. Moore is not belligerent. It was the complete opposite of combat. He needed help. Their Credibility Is Support by the fact that they cover up that the hospital staff were belligerent.
“If this goes to trial, the state will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when they put him on the stretcher, they thought to themselves, ‘I think I’m going to kill him,'” said Justin Kuehn. Cadigan’s attorneys. “Were their actions reckless? That’s another it’s for the day.”
paramedics in patient’s death; When the defendants entered the courtroom, Finley saw seven family members sitting in the front row. She sat down at the defense table, tears streaming down her face, looked at her family and said, “I’m sorry.
Family Members Declined to Comment to The Associated Press.
Under Illinois law, a First-Degree Murder charge applies if the defendant “knows that such an act is likely to result in death or serious bodily injury.” Experts say it’s rare for emergency room doctors to face criminal charges for a patient’s death.
Friday’s hearing drew objections, mainly from defense attorneys who said Wright fabricated testimony while cross-examining the only witness, Sgt. Illinois State Police Detective Zachary Weisahaar.
Finley and Cadigan told Weisahaar that Moore was combative. Cadigan said he based that conclusion on seeing Moore honking and an officer jump out of the way, Weisahaar said.
Body camera footage showed Moore unable or unwilling to stand up on his own and struggling at times. His blood alcohol level was 0.077, which is below the legal limit for driving in Illinois at 0.08. After entering the apartment, Finley yelled for Moore to get up.
Weisahaar said Finley told him he was monitoring Moore’s vital signs on the way to HSHS St. John’s Hospital. But Wright played in court a recording of Finley’s phone call to notify the hospital of their arrival, saying: “I’m not messing with the life support because I don’t want to poke the bear.”
paramedics in patient’s death; Both Finley and Cadigan had enough training and knowledge to know Moore’s situation was harmful, Weisahaar said. He said Cadigan told him that in 20 years he had never been instruct that it was dangerous to corner a patient.
Weisahaar also learned that Cadigan only attended two practices last year where the instructor insisted on the warning against lying down.
Cadigan’s other lawyer, Edward Unsell, said it was more likely that Moore’s broken ribs were being try by hospital staff to revive him.
Finley’s attorney, W. Scott Hanken, said the allegations are baseless.
“There are two platforms – civil and criminal. We’re in a bad place,” Hanken said. “You haven’t heard a single piece of evidence that bears on impeachment.”
Their next court date is February 6. Their lawyers say they will seek their release on personal recognizance.
Moore’s family announced Thursday that it has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Finley, Cadigan and their employer, LifeStar Ambulance Service.