Wednesday, July 1-Family Files Suit Against OC Paramedics

OCEAN CITY – Three months after the family of two Pennsylvania tourists who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Boardwalk motel room in June 2006 successfully settled a $30 million lawsuit against the facility’s owner and various other defendants, the same plaintiffs last week filed a second suit in the case, targeting the Ocean City paramedics who allegedly failed to respond to their pleas for help in the confusion of the tragic morning.

Yvonne and Morgan Boughter, family members of the pair of tourists who perished from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Days Inn on the Boardwalk in Ocean City in June 2006, last Friday filed suit against the town of Ocean City’s Department of Emergency Services-Fire/EMS Division along with five individual defendants for failing to respond to their first 911 call at around 9:43 a.m. on the morning of June 27, 2006.

According to the complaint, Ocean City EMTs responded to a similar call from a family in two adjacent rooms and rendered treatment and transported patients afflicted with CO poisoning, but never responded to Room 121 where the Boughter family was staying.

“The defendants left the Days Inn Hotel without providing any assistance to the Boughter family, or without inquiring as to whether the Boughter family was located on the premises and without performing any investigation to determine whether the Boughters were safe or in continuing need of emergency assistance,” the complaint reads.

According to 911 transcripts from the incident, the defendants were aware there was another family afflicted with carbon monoxide poisoning in Room 121 where the Boughter family was staying, but didn’t respond to the room after taking care of patients in Rooms 125 and 127.

“Subsequent to Yvonne Boughter’s first 911 call to the defendants, transcripts of the defendants’ discussions show that they knew that there was a ‘second call, different room at the Days Inn Hotel, Room 121, for sick subjects experiencing similar things, also four patients’,” the complaint reads. “Later in the defendants’ discussions, it was again discussed that the Boughters were at the Days Inn Hotel at 2200 Baltimore Avenue, and were located in Room 1-2-1, 121.”

Around 1:53 p.m. on June 27, 2006, Yvonne Boughter awoke again and called 911 a second time. Ocean City EMTs were dispatched at around 1:58 p.m. and arrived at the Days Inn at approximately 2:02 p.m. By the time they arrived, Patrick and Kelly Boughter had died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the 911 transcripts included in the complaint, Yvonne Boughter told the dispatcher during the second call, “Yeah…um…I called you earlier and nobody came yet. My husband has passed away, my daughter looks like she passed away also.”

In March, the Boughter family reached a settlement with the owner of the hotel, the manufacturer of the faulty water heater deemed responsible for the CO leak, the company that distributed the water heater and the company that purchased and installed the water heater for an undisclosed amount. With that element of the case settled, the family has now filed suit against the Ocean City paramedics that allegedly failed to respond to their initial 911 call. The new suit is seeking a combined $20 million for six counts including gross negligence/ wrongful death and gross negligence/personal injury.

In the meantime, the victims in Rooms 125 and 127 in April filed a second suit against the original defendants in the Boughter case.

For the complete story, and all the week’s news, see The Dispatch on Friday morning.