Ex-medic gets $1.5M settlement for New Orleans ambulance injury

Medic was working on a gunshot victim when the ambulance hit a bump, causing bench to collapse

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans paramedic received more than $1.5 million from Medtec Ambulance Corp. for injuries incurred while treating a patient in the back of an ambulance.

A federal jury found that Medtec was responsible for the design of the bench seat that caused the injuries of paramedic Ryan Earls, 26, in Dec. 2010, according to The Times-Picayune.

Earls was working on a gunshot victim when the ambulance reportedly hit a bump, causing the bench to collapse, said his attorney, David Oestreicher.

He was removed from the ambulance at the hospital, having sustained nerve damage as well as bulging discs in his back, NOLA.com said.

The seat had "imploded," said Earls's partner, paramedic Matthew Alewine, who was driving one of the 15 Medtec ambulances leased for 10 years to New Orleans Emergency Medical Services in 2010.

Earls returned to work as a dispatcher after the accident but could not do his job because of his nerve damage, and the city fired him in Jan., Ostreicher told NOLA.com.

The jury's award to Earls included $200,000 for his loss of future wages and benefits, $600,000 in medical expenses and $700,000 for his pain and suffering.

The company's local counsel did not return a call for comment when contacted by the The Times-Picayune.

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