More than six years ago, 37-year-old Goldie Beck woke up in the middle of the night in her Hilltop home with chest pains and shortness of breath. Her husband called Columbus paramedics, who ran tests that proved inconclusive. She signed a waiver declining to go to the hospital. The medics told her to eat some bread and take Rolaids, her attorney said.
Beck died of a heart attack less than an hour after medics left. Now the city will be paying $100,000 because medics did not follow correct protocol, City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer said.
The Columbus City Council approved the lawsuit settlement to her husband, Robert Beck, yesterday.
After paramedics arrived at 3:52 a.m. on May 27, 2000, they ran an electrocardiogram, which showed nothing, Columbus Public Safety Director Mitchell J. Brown said.
Beck’s attorney, Jason Blue, said paramedics told her she didn’t need to go to the hospital. Pfeiffer told the council yesterday that Mrs. Beck did sign a refusal to transport, but that medics should have advised her to go to the hospital.
“That was not done,” Pfeiffer said.
Jack Reall, president of the Columbus firefighters union, said he’s not familiar with the case. But he said that medics do not refuse transportation.
“If it doesn’t show anything on the EKG, it’s very difficult to give someone a definitive answer,” Reall said.
“It’s up to you. If you want to go to the hospital, we’ll take you to the hospital of your choice. It’s not a position where we want to strong-arm anyone.”
Pfeiffer said Beck’s estate originally sought $650,000 from the city.