Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is this homicide?

Hypothetically speaking or I heard this someplace:

A 21 year-old is not feeling well for a couple of days, fever, cough, shortness of breath. Because he is in a boot camp-like situation, he is run (as in really running with his own 2 feet) to the clinic for medical attention. Once there he stands in line awaiting his turn to be seen. He is observed by the clinic staff to not look well when he arrived. After some time in line he passes out, falls to the hard floor, and strikes his head. Unconscious he is taken by rescue squad to a local hospital from the clinic. There he is diagnosed with bleeding in his head, a direct result of passing out and hitting his head on the floor. He dies as a result of his head injury. He is also found to have a pneumonia involving his entire right lung, all 3 lobes, the reason he had been un-well.

Is his death a homicide (death at the hands of another) because of neglect to what would be considered appropriate medical attention (or lack of appropriate medical attention) by the medical providers at the clinic? (Remember for a Coroner Homicide does not necessarily mean murder)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think we need more information. Like, was he seen at all by medical personel at the clinic before passing out? Any vital signs taken? Was he saying that he felt bad, or that he felt light-headed, or was he too short of breath to say anything? If this happened at boot camp, it might have seemed unusual to staff to suspect that a 21 y/o in (presumably) good shape would develop triple-lobe pneumonia. Based on the cursory information, I would say the situation sounds like an unfortunate accident. However, if this man was in severe respiratory distress, I think the training instructor bears some responsibility to call and ambulance. It seems a little negligent to make a man run to the clinic when he's ill.