Everyone at Wofford College was stunned to receive the news that Randall Heffron, a 20-year-old tennis star, had passed away.
Randall had been with friends when he started to experience some difficulty breathing. They say that he went into the bathroom where they later found him. By the time they thought to check on him, he was already unresponsive. At 1:11 a.m. he was pronounced dead.
Following the autopsy, the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office pronounced choking as the cause of death. They believe that the high amount of ethanol in Randall’s body caused him to while he was also trying to swallow a piece of pizza. At the time of his death, Randall’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
Now, Randall’s college, Wofford College, has been named as the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit that his parents have filed in civil court. It’s their belief that their son might still be alive had the college’s campus security department behaved differently when Randall’s friends reported his death. Reports show that the resident adviser in Randall’s dorm alerted campus security to the situation at approximately 12:30 am.
When the security guard arrived on the scene he assumed that the problem was alcohol related, a belief he passed on to the EMT’s when he called them. During the call he was adamant that Randall was suffering from alcohol poisoning and didn’t mention the possibility that the 20-year-old was unable to breathe do to a blockage in his windpipe. As a result, when they arrived on the scene, the EMT’s began to administer treatment for alcohol poisoning rather than working to remove the blockage from Randall’s trachea.
“I feel it was preventable in the sense of preparedness of first-response personnel and awareness in knowing the signs of choking versus alcohol poisoning, and how to render care to a person who is unconscious from losing his airway,” she said. “There were crucial minutes when assumptions were made and treatment rendered that did not include the possibility of choking even though food was present.”
In the lawsuit, Randall’s parents discuss how they feel that the when the officers responded to the emergency, they behaved with gross negligence and recklessness. They go on to stay that the campus failed to take measures to make sure the security officers were properly trained to handle such an event.
“My heartbreaks for this family. I can’t imagine how much anger, confusion, and pain they’re feeling right now,” said John Bales Attorney of South Florida’s top personal injury firm. “I’m pleased that they decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the college. While the suit won’t bring their son back, hopefully it will be enough to convince the college that they need to alter the way their security team responds to crises.”
Did you recently lose someone in a manner that you feel could have been prevented? Contact John Bales Attorneys and set up a time to meet with an experience personal injury attorney and discuss what a wrongful death lawsuit would entail.