the death of a child be a strong enough motivator
for change? Or should change require a lawsuit?
Martinez has filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal
court against the city's Department of Education, two nurses
and their employer, Comprehensive Resources Inc.
lawsuit states that school policy prevented nurses
from calling 911 to help his 11-year-old son, also named
Shawn. For some incomprehensible reason, the law bars nurses
from calling 911 without the principal's permission. The
problem was that when Shawn Martinez had trouble breathing,
the principal of the school could not be found.
hour after the asthma attack started 11 year old
Shawn Martinez was dead.
school nurse Maryellen Johnson said in her
deposition that the nurses were bound by the 911 policy that
they could not call 911 unless they first get permission from
story highlights something so ugly I hate to think
about it. We have become so lawsuit sensitive that we have
trapped ourselves in a corner and let an 11 year old child
die. And what can only be considered worse, no change was
implemented until three years later when a $2 million dollar
lawsuit was filed.
week public school principals citywide were
reminded how to handle medical emergencies. Principals were
told that 911 calls shouldn't be delayed in life-threatening
ensure that your entire staff is aware of these
requirements," read part of the weekly letter e-mailed to
the city's 1,451 principals.
horrid fact that those in the school system were
afraid to make a move in a life threatening situation without
the principal's involvement because of fear of a lawsuit for
not following the rules, was contrasted by two
"hero" stories this same week.
Gonzalez, 43, and Pedro Nevarez, 40, saw 3-year-old
Timothy Addo dangling from a Bronx building on Thursday, and
caught him as he fell four flights.
Autrey jumped on the tracks on the NY city subway
system to save the life of a student. Though he was called a
hero some have said that he was foolish to risk his own life
especially considering the fact that his two young daughters
were with him.
can't say that anyone would have blamed Wesley
Autrey had he not jumped onto the tracks. Others were standing
there with him and did not act as he did. Maybe some would not
even have blamed Gonzalez and Nevarez, after all there was
some risk for harm to themselves when the toddler dropped on
them from four flights up. But what if the three men would
have been in fear of lawsuit and allowed the toddler and teen
how can one excuse a school that is charged with
not only teaching, but taking care of and protecting the
children in their care for allowing a child to die because
they couldn't break the rule and call 911. It's beyond
are lawsuits that are filed for financial gain,
some for punishment or revenge and those that are filed to
force a change.
Martinez's lawsuit will hopefully force
change in the way the school system handles an
emergency, but it's sad that the death of a child
wasn't enough of a motivator - that it also took a