They are not suing for money, but for change

By Molly Reuter - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Texas family says 9-1-1 dispatchers and an East Texas medic did not do enough to help save her son.

21-month-old Matthew Cantrell died in 2007 when he accidentally hung himself in a family soccer net. Tuesday, the Cantrell family of Murphy filed a lawsuit against the city of Murphy, the officers who responded to the emergency and East Texas Medical Center.

The family says the lawsuit is not for money, but for change.

Dispatch: "Murphy 911."

Mother: "My son is chocking!

She was on the phone for five minutes, pleading with dispatchers and then an ETMC medic for help.

Mother: "Please tell me what I need to do!"

Ave Cantrell, the mother of 21-month-old Matthew Cantrell said she immediately called 9-1-1 when she discovered her son hanging in their backyard soccer net.

"I blame myself everyday," said Cantrell. "I still kind of do."

But Cantrell said the dispatcher and medic allegedly refused to give her that specific medical advice.

According to the lawsuit, the Cantrells seek justice against the ETMC paramedic who refused to give Matthew's mother instruction on administrating life-saving measures. The suit goes on to accuse ETMC of negligence in training and supervising its emergency medical personnel.

The city of Murphy and four Murphy police officers are also named in the lawsuit. The suit alleges the officers prevented paramedics from helping Matthew, saying he was already dead.

"The police office just left him there, just to go outside and he put up crime scene tape," said Cantrell.

Also according to the complaint, the paramedics eventually forced their way in and found Matthew still alive. He lived for three more days. Cantrell said she knows the lawsuit will not bring Matthew back, but hopes it will better train officers and improve the 9-1-1 response system.

"We will meet again," said Cantrell, of the son she lost. "We will be together. I will hold onto that."

The Cantrells are not seeking a specific amount of money. The suit asks that the amount be determined by a jury. We contacted ETMC for a comment. They referred us to their lawyer in Austin who we were told was in a meeting all day and could not comment.

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