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Phoenix family claims firefighters dropping father led to paralysis, death

The Phoenix Fire Department is investigating the death of a patient reportedly dropped by firefighters.

By Bill Carey

PHOENIX — A Phoenix family claims their father’s paralysis and death was due to firefighters dropping him as they carried him down the stairs in a rolling office chair.

On Jan. 5, Ronald Shuck, a diabetic, was having trouble standing. The family called the fire department. When firefighters arrived, they placed Shuck in an office chair without arms, 12NEWS reported.

The firefighters used the same chair to move Shick down the porch steps when firefighters dropped the chair.

“He’s not a small person, so I don’t understand why they would choose to do that,” Ryan Shuck said.

A fire department report Ryan received from hospital records stated firefighters wrote that Ronald Shuck “fell to the ground from the chair” while firefighters were lifting him. Shuck complained of neck pain but passed a spinal movement test and could move his arms and legs.

Ryan Shuck said his father had broken his C6, C7 and T4 vertebrates.

At the hospital, Ronald Shuck grew progressively more paralyzed. “And then he could no longer move or talk, or eat or drink,” Ryan Shuck said. “Watching him take his last breath was probably the hardest moment of my life.”

Ronald Shuck died on Jan. 23, more than two weeks after being taken out of his house for muscle weakness.

The Phoenix Fire Department told 12NEWS that the incident is under investigation.