A contentious suit against two Beaufort County paramedics has ended in a $150,000 settlement to the victim of a 2008 beating who claims the medics mishandled his injuries.
In 2009, Brian Lanese and his wife Tracy filed a lawsuit against paramedics Jeffrey Knieling and Shayna Orsen, and Beaufort County alleging that the paramedics’ negligence resulted in Brian’s being hospitalized for brain injuries. In 2008 he was assaulted by multiple assailants in his backyard, but according to the suit the paramedics assumed he was intoxicated or on drugs. He was hospitalized for a month following the assault and is reported to have nearly died from his injuries.
The Island Packet identified a number of outstanding questions that the lawsuit originally sought to address, including:
- “Why the paramedics concluded when they saw Lanese sprawled on the floor that he was drunk or on drugs. Lanese’s wife had told them that he’d had nothing but iced tea.
- Why they wanted to take Lanese to Hilton Head Hospital instead a Savannah hospital staffed and equipped to treat serious head injuries. They reversed course and headed for Savannah only after an emergency room doctor at Hilton Head Hospital directed them to do so.
- Why Lanese’s wife and a neighbor — a paramedic himself who was off-duty — had to carry Lanese to the ambulance with no help from Knieling or Orsen and without a backboard or neck collar to immobilize him.
- Why the two paramedics spent nearly 20 minutes at the Lanese home, during which Lanese received little medical attention. EMS protocol recommends spending no more than 15 minutes.”
The suit originally sought $600,000 in damages, but was settled on March 14, 2012 for $150,000 following a court sponsored mediation process. Neither the county nor the paramedics involved admitted to any wrongdoing.
It is unclear how the victim would have connected the alleged delay in treatment to the injuries he sustained.