Deceased Chapel Hill High School Football Player's Family Claims Paramedic Malpractice in Their North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit

February 9, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of Atlas Fraley has filed a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit alleging medical malpractice. Fraley, 17, called 911 on August 12, 2008 because he was experiencing cramping and dehydration after participated in a football scrimmage earlier that morning. Fraley was a student at Chapel Hill High School.

Paramedic James Griffin arrived at the scene. Orange County, EMS records note that the medical worker gave the teenager Gatorade and water before leaving him alone. By the time Fraley’s parents, Malinda and David, arrived home several hours later, their son was already dead. Autopsy findings indicate that Fraley may have suffered a fatal heart attack. The Fraleys’ North Carolina wrongful death complaint accuses Griffin, Orange County Emergency Services, and the County of Orange of failing to provide their son with the proper emergency medical care that could have saved his life.

Griffin has resigned from his job. According to an internal probe conducted by Orange County, the former paramedic neglected to: take the teenager’s vital signs, check his temperature, advise him regarding when to see a doctor, take him to a medical facility where he could be treated for hyperthermia, call the boy’s parents, consult with a doctor, and fully document the medical exam he gave the boy. Griffin claims he tried to call Fraley’s parents, but there are no records of the call being made.

Paramedic Malpractice
EMS workers, like all medical professionals, are expected to provide patients with a certain level of care. People contact 911 for medical help because they are experiencing a health emergency. When failure to provide the proper medical care results in injuries, illness, or death, the victim may have grounds for filing a North Carolina medical malpractice complaint.

Paramedic errors have included:

• Failure to transport patient to hospital in a timely manner
• Wrong diagnosis
• Late ambulance arrival
• Failing to proper treatment/evaluation protocol
• Administering the wrong medication
• Improper medical care
• Other medical mistakes

Parents sue in player’s death,, February 7, 2010

Chapel Hill schools investigating football player’s death, WRAL, August 15, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Orange County, NC Emergency Management Services

Chapel Hill High School


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