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Former EMT on trial for sexual abuse sued for past patient's death

Teddy Hickman, 42, was sued in a wrongful-death lawsuit that claims he incorrectly placed an endotracheal tube in an 18-year-old college student

By Josie Musico
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

LUBBOCK, Texas — A 42-year-old man on trial for indecency with a child by sexual contact was sued for fatal negligence in an unrelated case, A-J Media has learned.

Teddy Hickman and his former employer, Southwest Medevac, along with a second employee, were named in a wrongful-death lawsuit of an 18-year-old college student.

The case settled for an undisclosed amount, according to attorney Jon Hanna.

According to the suit, Hickman was part of an emergency-medical crew that responded to a traffic accident on May 3, 2010 on Highway 83/84 near Tuscola. Megan Gilbreath lost control of her pickup truck while driving from Abilene to San Angelo.

The suit claims Gilbreath’s injuries were not fatal, but Hickman incorrectly placed an endotracheal tube into her esophagus leading into her stomach, rather than its intended use for her trachea to her lungs. She slowly suffocated during the 33 minutes it took to reach the closest hospital, it claims.

Gilbreath’s mother, Judy Gilbreath of Abilene, is an emergency room registered nurse. She believes her daughter’s death could have been prevented through the correct placement of the tube or its quick removal, had staff realized the error.

“Megan’s death was not an accident,” she said. “When Mr. Hickman was initially reprimanded after her death he showed no remorse. He to this day has shown no remorse.”

Judy Gilbreath said she spent two years after the crash challenging Hickman’s emergency-medical and nursing certification.

According to the Texas Board of Nursing, he voluntarily surrendered his nursing license on July 9, 2012. Records from the Texas Department of State Health Services show he holds certification as an emergency medical technician that was suspended Sept. 22, 2011.

Representatives of those agencies did not return phone calls or emails from A-J Media attempting to question the circumstances of the license surrender and suspension.

Gilbreath added she has concerns about the outcome of Hickman’s unrelated criminal trial, underway in Lubbock County District Court. He faces a second-degree felony charge with a potential 20-year prison sentence.

“I fear that if he is not convicted, he will attempt to get his license reinstated,” she said. “He will kill again.”

Daniel Hurley, Hickman’s defense attorney in the indecency case, declined to immediately comment.

Judy Gilbreath described her late daughter as “bright and beautiful with a brilliant future and many hopes and dreams.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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