There are a growing number of criminal cases filed against healthcare providers who fail to act in accordance with the standard of care. While in some cases, these criminal cases seem better suited to civil court, there is nothing that prevents municipal authorities from filing criminal charges against medical personnel. In most cases, these suits are not filed against doctors but against EMTs and nurses. In some cases, the EMTs and nurses go above and beyond simple negligence, and hence, the charges against them are sometimes justified.
In this case, the EMTs are charged with first-degree murder, which is the harshest crime that anyone can be charged with under Illinois law. According to authorities, the EMTs knowingly strapped a man into the gurney so tightly that he was not able to breathe. He died of respiratory distress.
The defense contends that the incident was mere negligence and not intentional murder.
What Will Happen?
It depends heavily on what the prosecution does and wants to do. It is hard to believe that a jury would convict the EMTs of a crime that could end up carrying a life sentence. That being said, it is not a good time for first responders to play God. Every single they did and said is going to be scrutinized. Prosecutors will be looking for any sign that first responders did not respond to the plaintiff the same way they would have another individual. The allegations against the EMTs seem to support the prosecution’s contention that the first responders black-heartedly failed to render care. If so, then a jury may convict on first-degree murder charges.
It is still more likely that prosecutors will use the first-degree murder charges to leverage a manslaughter conviction. But if prosecutors think that they have a slam dunk with their arguments, they may take first-degree murder charges in front of a jury. The jury may or may not have the option to convict on lesser manslaughter charges. If prosecutors feel that a jury is unlikely to convict on first-degree murder, then they may be willing to take a manslaughter plea.
Analyzing the Defense
The defendants are at a point where they are hoping they can secure a manslaughter conviction because prosecutors are coming that hard at the two EMTs. The EMTs’ defense counsel is likely wondering why this situation is criminally actionable when most negligence cases are not. Here, an EMT is expected to know that breathing issues can occur if an individual is strapped to a gurney. So, with that broader understanding comes an enhanced duty of care and a presumption of foreknowledge. Plus, they treated him like an animal. If they had not, they might not be facing charges.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Healthcare professionals are at increased risk of facing criminal charges related to malpractice. If you have been charged with a crime while in the performance of your healthcare duties, call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.