Moss & Colella finds egregious gross neglience, medical malpractice in the death of oxygen-dependent Detroit man
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Southfield, Mich. — October 30, 2019 — A. Vince Colella, a civil rights and personal injury attorney with Southfield-based Moss & Colella, P.C., today announced that a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the family of Maurice Freeman, a 67-year-old African American male Detroit resident who died on May 5, 2018 after suffering a loss of oxygen leading to irreversible brain damage.
Background of the lawsuit:
On April 15, 2018, Freeman was residing in the 9000 block of Stahelin; that day, a winter storm hit the area, causing wide-spread power outages in Detroit. Freeman, who suffered from COPD and was dependent on oxygen, began experiencing breathing difficulties. At 9:15 p.m., Freeman’s roommate, Steven Colvin, placed a call to 911 and reported that Freeman “could not breathe,” his oxygen “was not working,” and he was going “in and out of consciousness.” Colvin told emergency service dispatchers that Freeman was “in trouble.” Two emergency medical personnel arrived in response to the call; however, they failed to perform any medical assessment or analyze whether Freeman’s supplemental oxygen was sufficient. Further, they refused to transport Freeman to the hospital.
Hours later, Freeman again began to experience severe breathing problems, prompting Colvin to call 911 a second time at 1:48 a.m. on April 16, 2018. On this call, Colvin reported to dispatch that “[Freeman] is dying.” According to records obtained from the City of Detroit through a FOIA request, the same two emergency medical personnel arrived at the Stahelin address. This time, they entered the home without equipment and failed to provide oxygen. Inexplicably, the emergency medical personnel did not immediately transfer Freeman to the ambulance, leaving Colvin to get him out of the home as the emergency medical personnel looked on. As Colvin carried Freeman to the ambulance in the presence of the emergency medical personnel, Freeman collapsed. Freeman was then transported to Beaumont Hospital (Dearborn) where he remained unresponsive. Physicians said Freeman had lost significant brain function due to a lack of oxygen; he was ultimately removed from life support on May 5, 2018.
“The emergency medical personnel failed to perform a full and complete medical assessment, despite Freeman exhibiting obvious signs of respiratory distress,” Colella said. “The emergency medical personnel also failed to calculate the duration of the oxygen available to Freeman when they first encountered him. They simply left him in the home to die.”
The complaint alleges medical malpractice against the emergency medical personnel and the City of Detroit, and gross negligence against the emergency medical personnel.
About Moss & Colella
Established in 1997, Moss & Colella represents the victims of personal injury, civil rights violations, discrimination, medical malpractice and wrongful death. The firm is recognized as a leader in complex tort litigation, including excess and deadly force, jail death, sexual abuse and harassment, auto and truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and other serious injury and wrongful death claims. To learn more about the firm and its diverse areas of practice, visit www.mosscolella.com.