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March 24, 2011

Lawsuit filed over SC teen killed after jump from ambulance


GREENVILLE, S.C. — WYFF News 4 has learned that the family of an autistic teenager who died a year ago after jumping out of a moving ambulance has filed a lawsuit against the ownership of Greenville Memorial Hospital.

Ryan Emory, 16, died on February 28, 2010 while being transferred by ambulance to a hospital in Columbia. Greenville Health Corporation owns Greenville Memorial Hospital and the hospital's Mobile Care Ambulance service.

Shortly after Ryan's death, his mother, Shelley Hodge, said two local psychiatric hospitals had refused to admit him and that's why he was being transported to Columbia.

According to the lawsuit, Ryan was admitted to the emergency department of Greenville Memorial Hospital on Feb. 26. Emergency department records said that Emory became "extremely agitated and volatile and displayed symptoms of aggression," and that Ryan said he was going to "hurt himself and exhibited outbursts of anger, crying and screaming when he was informed he was to be transferred to William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that despite Ryan and his mother's objections, arrangements were made to transfer him. The lawsuit says that the transfer form indicated known risks with the transfer and identified "security" as accompanying personnel.

The suit alleges that during transport, Ryan was allowed to release himself from the stretcher, open the back door of the ambulance and fall from the ambulance into Interstate 85.

Ryan died of multiple head and body trauma and cardiac arrest.

The wrongful death lawsuit alleges gross negligence and recklessness and seeks compensation for "conscious pain and suffering of Ryan prior to his death, as well as for his necessary funeral and burial expense and cost of probate." The family is seeking a jury trial.

Republished with permission from WYFF Greenville