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July 18, 2013

City loses suit involving patient who bled to death waiting for ambulance

Pawtucket Times

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The city of Pawtucket recently lost a costly lawsuit involving a 53-year-old female kidney patient who bled to death waiting for a Fire Department ambulance to arrive.

The Sept. 20, 2007 case involving the late Maria G. Carvalho, who had lived with her husband, Joao, in an apartment at 101 Gooding Street, caused an uproar at the time and led to more stringent dispatch training. A lawyer for the family, Stephen M. Rappoport, sued the city for $4 million in a wrongful death claim and a survivor's claim, maintaining negligence and improper training by the Pawtucket Fire Department.

Maria Carvalho, who was undergoing dialysis, was home with her husband when she began to bleed heavily from a shunt in her arm. Joao Carvalho, who spoke limited English, and an 81-year-old neighbor from across the street, attempted to summon help for Maria, making a total of three 911 calls between them. However, there was a delay of about 15 minutes until an ambulance was dispatched, and another three minutes for the ambulance to arrive at Gooding Street, during which time Maria Carvalho died.

Full story: City loses suit in woman’s death