Police Reportedly Stopped Family from Doing CPR, Lawsuit Alleges

According to a report from the Abilene Reporter-News, police in Snyder, Texas arrived on a location of a 911 call for an ambulance and stopped a family member from doing CPR back in 2009.  The gentleman who collapsed eventually died. This report is just a preliminary report from a lawsuit filed by the family, but it raises an important question – do the police have any authority or responsibility with regards to EMS scenes, even before EMS arrives. The allegations continued, stating that when EMS did arrive, they restarted CPR and the gentleman survived 2 days before eventually passing away.

There are many unanswered questions here – what is the timeline of the events, why did the officer prevent the family from continuing to care for their loved one and what training did the officer have in medical issues.  So the current answer to my question above is that we need to know more information, but if the allegations are true, the officer was at the very least negligent.  Interruption in CPR has been shown to make a big difference in survivability of cardiac arrests, so if there was a significant interruption, the officers may have made the difference – and not in a good way, unfortunately.

The text of the article is after the jump:

Family suing city of Snyder, claiming they were prohibited from performing CPR on man

The family of a man who died of an apparent heart attack in 2009 has filed a lawsuit against the city of Snyder and five police officers, claiming police restrained the family from performing potentially lifesaving treatment.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 28 in Lubbock federal court on behalf of Darlene Bollinger and her daughter Debra Bollinger, and asks for an unspecified amount of money.

The lawsuit alleges Benny Bollinger, the husband of Darlene Bollinger and father of Debra Bollinger, was alive when Snyder police officers arrived at their home on Dec. 6, 2009, in response to a 911 call.

The officers immediately restrained Debra Bollinger, took her in a separate room and forced her to stop CPR, the lawsuit states.

Darlene Bollinger also was prohibited from assisting, according to the lawsuit.

Snyder City Manager Merle Taylor said Thursday that the lawsuit is under review. The City Council has yet to be apprised about the details of the lawsuit, he said.

When emergency medical personnel arrived, they recommenced CPR and took Benny Bollinger to Cogdell Memorial Hospital in Snyder.

“Benny Bollinger was still alive when he arrived at the hospital, and medical personnel continued administration of resuscitation efforts, but ultimately, he died,” the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, the city was deficient in its training, supervision and discipline of the officers named in the lawsuit.

A preliminary court hearing has not been scheduled, court records show.

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