Police bodycam released after EMS providers charged with murder of patient in their care

The 35-year-old man died from compressional and positional asphyxia, which a coroner said was a result of being placed face down on a stretcher

Body camera footage has been released in the case of two Illinois EMTs charged with first-degree murder following the death of a 35-year-old patient in their care.

This is not the first high-profile case of charges filed against EMS providers in recent years. In “Malpractice or murder: When do EMS providers cross the line from negligence to crime?”, Page, Wolfberg & Wirth attorneys Doug Wolfberg, Esq., and Steve Wirth, Esq., break down the facts of the case and the important lessons to be learned for EMS professionals nationwide, and explain why bodycam footage carries substantial weight in determining criminal charges. The two also discuss how a guilty verdict comes down to a “guilty state of mind.”

Are first-degree murder charges warranted in this case? Should EMS providers be protected from criminal charges when caring for patients? Share your thoughts with us at editor@ems1.com to be included in our ongoing coverage of this case.

By Mike Stunson
The Charlotte Observer

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Two emergency medical services workers have been charged with first-degree murder following the death of a 35-year-old patient in their care, Illinois authorities say.

Earl Moore Jr. died during the early-morning hours of Dec. 18 following an ambulance ride from his home to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Sangamon County State’s Attorney, Dan Wright, said during a news briefing streamed by WICS on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

It was his ambulance ride — not what he was going to the hospital for — that caused Moore’s death, the coroner ruled.

Moore died from compressional and positional asphyxia, which Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allman said was a result of being placed face down on a stretcher with straps tightened across his back.

Moore’s death was classified as a homicide, leading to the charges against Peter Cadigan, 50, and Peggy Finley, 44. The two are EMS workers for Lifestar Ambulance Service, which gave a “no comment” answer in a request for comment by WICS.

Moore was originally being transported to the hospital for “hallucinations due to a medical condition,” according to The State Journal-Register.

“Following the arrival of EMS, Earl Moore Jr. became the victim of acts which caused his death at the hands of individuals called by police to provide emergency medical care,” Wright said.

If convicted, Cadigan and Finley face between 20 and 60 years in prison, the state’s attorney said. They are each being held in the Sangamon County jail on $1 million bond.

Wright said Cadigan and Finley should have known from their training and experience that positioning a patient in such a way “would create a substantial probability of great bodily harm or death.”

Authorities said body camera footage would be released Tuesday.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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