“Man who jumped from ambulance says it’s New York City’s fault”

Yaugeni Kralkin injured himself jumping out the back of a speeding ambulance in Staten Island, and now he wants money from New York City, its fire department and four emergency workers. “Mr. Kralkin was incredibly drunk, with a blood-alcohol level so high he was unaware of his actions, he says, even as he unbuckled straps and ultimately dived from the vehicle, according to his lawyer. The emergency medical workers failed in their duty to protect him, the lawsuit contends, even from himself, in his inebriated state.” [Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times]


  • Mr. Kralkin certainly owns a good part of his own outcome, as suffering a physical injury while falling down drunk is perfectly foreseeable, even if the particular mechanism, land dive from a moving ambulance, is not.

    But we entrust ambulance crews to pick up people who are not of sound mind, who through no cognizable fault of their own might similarly attempt actions in the back of an ambulance that could lead to personal injury. So the crew needs to be ready for dealing with acute psychosis, hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, encephalitis, or drug toxicity that cause an individual to be a bit out of their mind.

    So we blame this patient for his prior faults, but the ambulance crew was tested for their readiness to deal with the medically challenging patient, and failed.

    • What exactly should the EMT’s have done with Mr. Kralkin?

      Should they have handcuffed him to the stretcher? (Not allowed by law.) Should they have fought with him? Perhaps a fist to the jaw in order to knock him out? Tried holding him down on the stretcher? (Of course, that would have delayed his arrival at the hospital and if he died, his family could have sued over that.)

      Kralkin had a BAC of .34 well after the incident. Even at that level, he was at risk of dying from alcohol poisoning. Is it reasonable to think that the man would suddenly release the restraints and dive out of the ambulance?

      There is one person to blame for the injuries suffered by Kralkin and that is Kraklin himself.

      It was he who started down the path of drinking himself into the state where he jumped out of the ambulance.

      (The lawsuit also claims that the EMT’s waited for another ambulance, while checking him out on the road and that caused a delay of 12 minutes getting him to the hospital. He wants money for the delay as well.)

      I know that I am in the minority, but I am tired of the idea that when someone acts in an irresponsible manner, it is up to others to take care of them.

      In fact, the lawyer even seems to blame the family for his drinking saying Kralkin expected to be loved and welcomed home from being out on the road and because he had words with his son, he started to pound down cognac.

      Yeah, it was the family that held him down on the ground and forced the cognac down his throat. It was the family that forced him to be drinking in public. It was the family that caused him to end up on someone else’s property in a life threatening alcohol induced state. It was then the EMT’s who failed to hog tie him to a stretcher. It was the EMT’s (or maybe the manufacturer or the vehicle who failed to have a system that prevents the doors from being open from the inside. (Not a cause named in the suit, but it’s possible.) It was the EMT’s who should have moved him faster off the ground – the very ground he jumped onto.

      This suit just adds to the assessment of some lawyers being “ambulance chasers.”

      When exactly does Kralkin take responsibility for the events of that night?

      The only person who failed that night was Kralkin himself.

      • “Should they have handcuffed him to the stretcher?”

        More or less, yes. Health care providers have the responsibility to utilize physical restraints when necessary to effect patient safety. There is quite a bit of information easily found, all of it approved by the government (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) and quasi governmental bodies (Joint Commission for Health care).


        Before ranting, please read my original post.
        First sentence: patient owns this one because he set himself up (a statement of opinion)
        Remainder: there are other patients, equally combative, but through no fault of their own from bona fide medical conditions. If the health care team were to fail to utilize appropriate medical restraints, then such failure to act would not meet the standard of care.

      • I disagree with one thing you wrote – that you are in the minority.

  • Health care providers have the responsibility to utilize physical restraints when necessary to effect patient safety.

    The problem with your statement as it applies to this case is that there was no indication that Kraklin was combative or in need of any additional medical restraint. He was belted into the stretcher for his safety.

    Given what had happened up to the point of Kraklin undoing the restraints and walking out the door, do you really think there was any indication that he was going to take that course of action?

    If not, is it your position that everyone that is drunk or enters into a ambulance should be restrained with a four point harness?

    Perhaps you missed this part of the article:

    Unlike the police, Mr. Ungar said, emergency medical workers are unarmed and do not have the authority to restrain people against their will.

    In fact, the EMT protocols allow for restraint if and only if the patient presents a danger to themselves or others and the law requires that the restraints be put on in the presence of a law enforcement officer.

    In that there was no evidence of danger, are the EMT’s supposed to act against the law?

    Before ranting, please read my original post.

    The first line of your post says the “land dive” was unforeseeable but yet the rest of your post seems to say the EMT’s weren’t ready, didn’t do the right thing, failed, etc.

    You even say that Kralkin owns “a good part of this.” That leads me to think that there are others who “own” the rest of the event in your mind.

    This is all on Kralkin. Not one bit of it is on the EMTs.

    It is time we go back to the idea that people are responsible for their own actions instead of blaming everyone else.