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Court of Appeals of Michigan
May 27, 2021, Decided
Defendants Zachary Osborn and Kaitlyn Moug are emergency-medical technicians (EMTs) who work for defendant Community Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (CEMS). The two EMTs were transporting plaintiff Donald Bartalsky on a stretcher in a hospital parking lot, and plaintiff injured his hip when the stretcher fell over. Plaintiff sued defendants under theories of ordinary negligence and medical malpractice, but the trial court dismissed the claims under the immunity provision of the Emergency Medical Services Act (EMSA), MCL 333.20901 et seq. On appeal, we conclude that ] the mere transportation of a patient is not sufficient to meet the requirement that the act or omission causing the injury occur "in the treatment of a patient" under MCL 333.20965(1). Accordingly, the EMSA's immunity for acts or omissions that do not rise to the level of gross negligence or willful misconduct does not apply here, and we [*2] reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
This case arises from an injury that occurred in the parking lot of William Beaumont Hospital. Plaintiff needed transportation to the hospital for evaluation of a nonemergency condition. Osborn and Moug transported him to the hospital, where he was evaluated and discharged. After discharge, the EMTs began the process of returning plaintiff to his rehabilitation clinic. Defendants claim that, consistent with their training, the EMTs secured plaintiff "with a 5-point restraint system" and moved the stretcher in a "Semi-Fowler" position. A Semi-Fowler position is a clinical position in which a patient is placed on an ambulance stretcher or hospital bed on their back with the head and trunk raised to an angle between 15 and 45 degrees.
According to plaintiff, Osborn and Moug began to wheel him out, but "[w]hile still in the Beaumont parking lot . . . Osborn and Moug, caused the wheels on the stretcher to hit some debris," causing the stretcher to "tip over" and plaintiff's left shoulder and hip to strike the pavement. Plaintiff alleges that Osborn and Moug "were further negligent in somehow (unwittingly) [*3] enabling the already injured Plaintiff to fall a second time on the concrete." In contrast, defendants claim that "as the two EMTs were transferring their patient from the ER to the ambulance on a stretcher, one of the stretcher wheels came in contact with debris in the ambulance bay and began to tip." Defendants assert that "the EMTs were able to maintain a grip of the stretcher when it tipped, mitigating the impact with the pavement," but that "[a]fter Plaintiff disregarded the instructions of the two EMTs to remain on the ground while they attended to the stretcher, he stood up and fell to the ground, striking his left side on the pavement," and breaking his left hip. The parties' differing factual accounts of the incident were not resolved below and are not pertinent to the critical issue on appeal.
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2021 Mich. App. LEXIS 3352 *; 2021 WL 2171095
DONALD BARTALSKY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v ZACHARY OSBORN, KAITLYN MOUG, and COMMUNITY EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES, INC., Defendants-Appellees, and WILLIAM BEAUMONT HOSPITAL, JOHN DOE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, and JOHN ROE, also known as JOHN DOE, Defendants.
Notice: THIS OPINION IS UNCORRECTED AND SUBJECT TO REVISION BEFORE PUBLICATION IN THE MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS REPORTS.
Subsequent History: Reconsideration denied by Bartalsky v. Osborn, 2021 Mich. App. LEXIS 4113 (Mich. Ct. App., July 6, 2021)
Leave to appeal denied by Bartalsky v. Osborn, 2022 Mich. LEXIS 306 (Mich., Feb. 2, 2022)
Prior History: [*1] Oakland Circuit Court. LC No. 2018-164869-NO.
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