Boston Personal Injury News - Find a Boston Injury Lawyer

Saugus School Fails to Call 911 After Girl Breaks Arm

There are definitely some situations when you clearly need to call 911: for example, fires, hostage situations, and when small children get hurt and break their bones.

But when fourth-grader Ally Deon broke both bones in her forearm while on the playground at Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Saugus, nobody called for an ambulance, according to The Daily Item. The school instead called Ally's mother, Jen Deon, who arrived to find her daughter in the school nurse's office screaming with an arm that "was hanging like a hammock." The break could not be set at a local hospital, so Ally had to be transferred to Children's Hospital in Boston.

Could the school be liable for any delays in Ally's treatment?

School officials claim they did not call an ambulance because of the school's policy. The policy states that the school nurse is responsible for administering first aid, but if the situation is serious, then the child's parent or primary physician will be called, according to the Item. In extreme situations, the nurse or principal may make arrangements for immediate hospitalization, contacting parents first, if possible.

This policy gives discretion to the school nurse and the principal to call for an ambulance. This means that any potential lawsuit would focus on their actions and whether they were reasonable.

A case that questions whether someone's actions were reasonable would be based on the legal theory of negligence. A negligence suit can be brought when someone breaches a legal duty to another person, and causes harm to that person.

A legal duty can arise from an actual law or from the general duty to act like a reasonable person in public. While there could be a specific legal duty given to schools and teachers, they at least have the duty to respond to a child's injury in a reasonable manner.

With regards to Ally Deon's injury, seeing a child with a severely broken arm should inspire some emergency action. A reasonable person seeing someone's arm dangling would likely call an ambulance to get the child to a doctor as soon as possible.

Further, the school's policy was that the nurse should give first aid. From the reports, it seems like no first aid was given at all.

While there seem to be some missteps by the school, it does not seem like the actions by the staffers involved added any extra damage to Ally Deon's arm. If there had been a more time-sensitive issue, or if it is later determined that time would have made a difference in Ally's treatment, then the Deon family would potentially have grounds for a lawsuit.

Related Resources: