A girl who suffered brain damage while awaiting an ambulance was awarded $172 million by a Bronx jury when they found paramedics could be held liable for giving her mother bad advice, according to the New York Times.
The jury came to their decision after a three-week trial.
The city plans to appeal the verdict saying, “While this is a tragic case, we believe that the jury’s verdict is not consistent with the law.”
The trial came after the Court of Appeals ruled last year that the city’s blanket immunity from lawsuits arising from the performance of normal government functions, like responding to 911 calls, did not apply in this case.
It is unclear if the verdict would have an effect on how city ambulance crews operate, assuming the decision is upheld by appellate courts. State case law has generally held that the city cannot be sued for handling of emergency calls unless a special promise is made to the person being helped. This is known as the “special duty” doctrine.
Tiffany Applewhite was 12 when she went into shock in 1998 after a private nurse gave her steroids for an eye condition.
The New York Times has more information about this verdict.