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Duty to use AED by Florida School – Limones v. Lee County School District

soccerIn the state of Florida, automated external defibrillators (AED) are required at all schools that partake in the state athletic association. Furthermore, the state requires anyone who might use such a device to be trained on how to use it properly.

In the case of Limones v. School District of Lee County, a student’s family filed a lawsuit against the school district after their son died after collapsing during a soccer game. The family alleged that the school violated its statutory and common law duty by not using the AED to treat the student.

The student was 15 years old and was playing soccer in a competition at a neighboring school in the same county. During the game, the student collided with another player and immediately collapsed. Moments later, it was evident that the student was not getting up. The coach went to check on the student. The student still did not get up. The coach tried to converse with the student for an estimated three minutes until the student stopped breathing and lost consciousness.

The coach called for an AED, but for unknown reasons, it was not brought to the coach. Two nurses from the crowd tried to resuscitate the student along with the coach. Approximately 10 minutes later, emergency responders with the fire department arrived on the scene and used their semi-automatic AED to revive the student. This proved to be unsuccessful. Twenty-six minutes after the boy had collapsed, emergency medical technicians arrived with an automatic AED. They managed to revive him. However, the student had suffered serious brain damage due to lack of oxygen as a result of the time delay. The student remains in a nearly vegetative state and will require full-time care for the rest of his life.

A medical expert determined that the student suffered from a previously undetected underlying heart condition. The expert opined that if the AED had been used earlier, oxygen would have been delivered to the student’s brain earlier, and he would not have suffered to the extent that he was left in the permanent vegetative state.

The school district maintained that it did not breach any duty and therefore was not negligent. The school filed a motion for summary judgment that was granted by the court.

Subsequently, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the minimal threshold had been met in this case when it was demonstrated that the school district owed the student a duty of care. The issue of whether that duty had been violated was a question for the jury to address. Specifically, it is a matter for the jury to determine whether the school district’s actions took reasonable measures to prevent the aggravation of the student’s injury. The jury should make this determination after examining all the evidence. Therefore, the case was remanded to trial.

If you or someone close to you has been harmed due to the negligence of school personnel, you may be able to hold the negligent parties responsible for their actions. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami personal injury attorneys can vigorously pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. With years of experience, we proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878).

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