Hospital to pay $1M to family of Eric Garner

The hospital center that dispatched paramedics and treated Eric Garner as he died after being placed into a chokehold by police has agreed to pay $1 million to the family, according to court records obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

The settlement with Richmond University Medical Center is confidential and wasn’t part of the $5.9 million agreement announced by the city in July. But the figure was disclosed in court documents filed in Surrogate’s Court on Staten Island that outline how the money will be dispersed to his family. Garner left no will.

The figure is the maximum claim allowed under the hospital center’s liability insurance policy, according to court papers.

The hospital center had no comment on the settlement, according to spokesman William Smith. Garner’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Garner, a 43-year-old black father of six, died during an encounter with police. Video of the arrest that has been widely circulated online shows the asthmatic, overweight man yelling, “I can’t breathe!” as he was wrestled to the ground, and a white officer places his arm around Garner’s neck. Emergency workers arrive after officers call 911, check his pulse and make sure he’s breathing before placing him on the stretcher.

“Sir, it’s EMS. We’re here to help you. We’re getting the stretcher, all right?” one worker says to Garner when they arrive at 3:36 p.m. He does not answer.

Later, when a bystander asks why they aren’t trying to resuscitate him, an officer says it’s because Garner is breathing. Hospital records, also filed in the documents, say Garner went into cardiac arrest on the stretcher. At the emergency room, doctors again performed CPR. By 4:15, he had no pulse, and he was declared dead at 4:34 p.m.

“The EMTS did not conduct the appropriate examination” of Garner and “failed to provide him with the necessary life-saving procedures,” according to the court documents.

Two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians were initially suspended without pay by the hospital, but they were reinstated into roles that did not involve patient care. They have since returned to the job, according to hospital officials.

Also detailed in the documents is a proposal for how to disperse the money. Garner’s widow will received about $2.4 million. His children will receive sums that range from $195,000 to $996,000. His mother, Gwen Carr, will receive $124,000 for acting as administrator of his estate, and the law firm that represented the family will receive $2.3 million, or one-third, which is a common attorney fee.

A judge set a hearing for March 16 to formalize the proposal.


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