A wrongful death suit has been filed against Thurston County, Washington by the parents of an 8-year-old boy who died from the personal injuries he suffered when his grandfather fired a cannon that exploded at an outdoor Fourth of July celebration in 2007.
According to the suit, emergency responders canceled a medical airlift “for no good reason,” transported the boy to the hospital via ambulance instead, which contributed to his death.
According to Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock, 8-year-old Devan Vyborny’s death was caused by blood loss due to shrapnel that struck him in the chest and severed his aorta during the celebration. The aorta is the artery that carries blood from the heart to smaller arteries.
Vyborny’s parents filed the suit in Thurston County Superior Court on March 12, naming Thurston County, Thurston County’s emergency dispatch center, Thurston County Medic One, and Airlift One as defendants.
The suit claims that Thurston County Medic One personnel began to administer first aid upon arrival, but appeared overwhelmed. The suit says witnesses say the Medic One personnel didn’t know which emergency devices to use on Vyborny. The suit says they were spotted asking personnel from the fire department which devices to use.
The suit claims negligence on the part of Medic one for the performance and for failing to properly train their employees.
The suit also claims that Medic One personnel requested helicopter transport for Vyborny, but it was later canceled. The suit alleges that they did not take him to the hospital urgently and seemed to have no sense of urgency.
The suit says Medic One personnel “anxiously” waited for a helicopter to arrive at the scene, but one never came. The suit says the family waited “what seemed to be an eternity” before begging them to take Vyborny to the hospital by ambulance.
According to the suit, Vyborny was still alive upon his eventual arrival at the hospital.
Vyborny’s parents are believed to be seeking damages exceeding $47 million.