The family of a New Jersey teenager who died from exertional heat stroke after a grueling football workout at Garden City Community Community College (GCCC) in 2018 has sued the medical personnel who responded to the emergency call for help.
The lawsuit was filed in late October in Finney County District Court and accuses the ambulance crew, the hospital and the emergency department doctor of medical negligence. All of the defendants, the suit alleges, departed "from prevailing professional standard(s) of care" when treating Bradforth.
According to the lawsuit, the EMS crew, who worked for Finney County, failed to "measure Braeden's core body temperature" and did not "timely and properly cool Braeden" by failing to use ice packs, cold water or provide him with air conditioning on the ride to the hospital.
Using ice packs or cold water is recognized by experts as the best way to lower the core body temperature.
"The fastest way to decrease body temperature is to remove clothes and equipment and immerse the body (trunk and extremities) into a pool or tub of cold water," the National Athletic Trainers' Association says in the Journal of Athletic Training.
The lawsuit also accused the emergency department doctor at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City of failing to timely treat Bradforth or get him to a specialist.
The family settled with GCCC for $500,000 in August without filing a lawsuit. This is the first time the family has gone to court. "We are exploring all events leading up to Braeden’s death, including what happened with EMS and the hospital,” Bradforth's mother Joanne Atkins-Ingram told KCUR.
Bradforth had been at GCCC just one day when former head coach Jeff Sims forced him to run 36, 50-yard sprints. “That’s a do-or-die drill,” former University of Oklahoma football team doctor Randy Eichner told KCUR at the time. “That is reckless endangerment.”
Sims was fired from his new job at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) Wednesday after just two years in Joplin. The university has refused to say if Sims was fired for cause or without cause. If MSSU simply parted ways with Sims, he would contractually be owed $90,000.
St. Catherine is owned by Centura Health in Colorado. "Centura Health is not able to offer a comment at this time," spokesman Kevin Massey said in an email to KCUR.
The ambulance crew worked for the county. "Finney County has no comment on that matter at this time," spokeswoman Sara McClure said in an email.