The family of a football player for Chapel Hill High School who suffered fatal personal injuries in August 2008 has filed a wrongful death suit against the paramedic who treated him, Orange County Emergency Services, and Orange County, according to a February 6 statement from the family’s attorney.


On August 12, 2008, 17-year-old Atlas Fraley, a senior offensive guard and defensive tackle, was participating in a scrimmage at Middle Creek High School in Apex. Shortly before 2 p.m., he called 911 with complaints of cramps and dehydration and asked for intravenous fluids. He was treated by Paramedic James Griffin and discharged shortly after 2 p.m. Later that evening, his parents found him unresponsive in their home.


No definite cause of death was listed on the autopsy report, but the report said that Fraley had a history of cramping and similar symptoms, which could have combined with dehydration to result in a “fatal cardiac event or even an acute asthmatic attack.”


In the suit Fraley’s parents file, they claim Griffin failed to provide adequate care for their son, was in violation of proper protocol for his medical condition, and failed to attempt to contact them before leaving him home alone.


The suit alleges that Fraley’s death was “a direct and proximate result” of Griffin’s negligence. It claims that if Griffin had properly evaluated, treated, and provided hospital transport to Fraley, he would more than likely still be alive.


State officials found no reason Griffin’s paramedic credentials should be revoked, but Orange County EMS determined him to have been in violation of protocol and revoked his privileges in the county. He resigned five days later.


The suit cites the Orange County EMS’ report in alleging Griffin’s violation of hyperthermia treatment protocol, such as failure to take Fraley’s vitals, failure to refer him to a physician or transport him, and failure to contact his parents. The suit also says Griffin assented to the advice of an observing medical student that Fraley didn’t need an IV.


Fraley’s parents have asked for a trial by jury and seek damages for medical and funeral costs, Fraley’s pain and suffering, and lost companionship and services.

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