On May 24, 2014, 15-year-old Leland Brown II passed away when emergency personnel from Kanawha County, West Virginia took an hour to get the teenager to the hospital from his family’s home in St. Albans after his mother called 911. Leland collapsed in front of his mother, and she made the call immediately. By the time the response team made it to the family home and transported Leland to the hospital, it was too late.
He was pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital. The cause of death was determined to be cardiac arrest. According to the Kanawha Ambulance Authority and Kanawha Metro 911, the first delay of 19 minutes—the time it took the ambulance to get to the teen’s home—was a result of a funeral that was held the same day for a former ambulance authority board member. The county’s ambulance units were rotated to attend the funeral services, but one of the rotations was improperly performed.
When the case was investigated further, it was also discovered that emergency personnel failed to perform basic health checks and administer anti-arrhythmic medications that are commonly used to treat cardiac arrest. Emergency personnel also got lost on the way to the hospital because the ambulance was not equipped with GPS software. Between all the delays, by the time Leland arrived at the hospital, a whole hour had passed from the time the teenager’s mother called 911.
Leland Brown II’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Kanawha Ambulance Authority and Kanawha Metro 911. Now, four years later, Leland’s family can seek closure to some degree and start the devastating process of finally moving forward.
On February 14, 2018, a Kanawha circuit judge approved a $1.4 million settlement for Leland’s family. Judge Tod Kaufman ruled that Kanawha County Ambulance Authority and Kanawha Metro 911 failed to provide “timely and proper care” to Leland, who was a healthy and active teenager prior to his passing. Leland was a freshman at St. Albans High School where he played baseball and football.
Attorney Robert Bastress of DiTrapano Barrett DiPiero McGinley & Simmons, PLLC represented the Brown family. “I don’t think anybody would dispute… that Leland Brown II was beloved by the community, his family and friends in St. Albans,” Bastress said. The funds from the settlement will be split between Leland Brown II’s parents, who both suffered tremendously after the event.