The family of a 59-year-old woman who had a heart attack and died last year has sued the ambulance corps that served the area, saying a delay in response stemming from a squabble over funding may have helped lead to her death.
Susan Jensen Morgan was at the Brookhaven Country Club in northern Greenfield on Feb. 19, 2011, when she fell ill, according to a lawsuit filed March 28 in the state Supreme Court in Saratoga County by Jensen Morgan’s estate and by her daughter, Kristin Passaretti of Porter Corners.
The family is suing the Corinth Emergency Squad, the town of Corinth and Saratoga County, blaming all three for contributing to Jensen Morgan’s death.
The lawsuit said the squad ignored emergency calls from the county’s 911 dispatch center in February 2011 during a dispute with the town over funding. That’s what Jensen Morgan’s family said happened on the day of her heart attack.
“After repeatedly attempting to alert the squad of the emergency call, the county eventually forwarded the 911 call to an emergency medical squad operated out of the city of Saratoga Springs, which … eventually arrived at the scene,” the lawsuit states. It does not say how long after the original call the Saratoga Springs squad arrived.
The Corinth squad was one of the ambulance services that responded to calls in northern Greenfield.
Corinth is blamed because the town “refused to reach an agreement with the squad so as to permit paramedics to accompany the squad personnel.” The county is blamed because it knew the squad was ignoring calls but it continued to call the squad anyway.
During the dispute with the town last year, the squad refused to let the town’s paramedics go on calls after Jan. 31, 2011, the lawsuit says, so the squad was reduced to giving basic life support rather than advanced life support. In late February, the town formed a new ambulance corps — Jessup’s Landing EMS — that became and remains the main responder to emergency calls.
As of the middle of last year, the Corinth Emergency Squad still operated as a backup squad in the area, but its current status was unclear Thursday. No one answered the phone at the squad’s office on Sherman Avenue, and the voice mail box was full. The member who was president of the squad last year was not available for comment Thursday.
Town Attorney Robert Hafner said Corinth has forwarded the lawsuit to its insurance company to handle but added that towns aren’t required to provide ambulance service so he doesn’t believe Corinth will be found legally responsible for Jensen Morgan’s death.
“It’s our opinion that it’s not anything that the town should be held liable for,” he said.
The town didn’t have an agreement to provide ambulance service to Greenfield, either, he said, though the squad may have.
Jensen Morgan lived in Clifton Park and was physically active, according to notes written by friends after her death. One friend wrote in an online guestbook that she and Jensen Morgan “camped, skied, skated, rollerbladed, kayaked, golfed and hiked” together.
A golf club in Albany wrote a memorial piece about her in its newsletter, with one of the writers mentioning her love of kayaking.
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