SEATTLE — The family of a man who died of cardiac arrest after first responders delayed entering his home is launching a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Seattle for $10 million.
William Yurek’s 13-year-old son called 911 twice on the afternoon of Nov. 2, 2021, reporting that his 46-year-old father was having chest pains and trouble breathing.
Medics arrived within six minutes of the first call, but then waited outside the home for 13 minutes.
Mark Lindquist, the family’s attorney, explained that Yurek’s address was on a list of addresses belonging to people who have been combative with law enforcement. When paramedics encounter any of these addresses, they must wait for a police escort before entering the building.
“The list was wrong. The list hadn’t been updated,” Lindquist said. “A previous tenant had been hostile to first responders, but Mr. Yurek had never been. He should not have been on the list.”
After the second 911 call from Yurek’s son came in and police still had not arrived, the medics violated protocol and went inside the home. They tried CPR and a defibrillator but were unable to save Yurek.
Lindquist said if help had come a few minutes sooner, Yurek may still be here today.
“Medical experts will tell you that every minute medical aid is delayed in a situation like this reduces the chances of survival by 7 to 10%,” he said. “Doctors and experts have looked at this and believe Mr. Yurek would have had a very good chance of survival if the medics had administered aid as soon as they arrived. Every single minute counts in a cardiac arrest situation, and there was a 13-minute delay here.”
Now Yurek’s family wants the city to answer for his death and commit to updating this list.
“If you’re going to keep a list that lives depend upon, that list has to be maintained, it has to be updated. This list was not,” Lindquist said, adding, “One of the problems is, the list goes by addresses instead of names, and people move, and they’re not updating the list.”
Lindquist does not have a problem with the list existing, but he does have a problem with it being incorrect.
“We understand the importance of safety to the first responders, absolutely,” he said. “But a list like this, lives literally depend upon, and therefore it has to be updated. And it wasn’t.”
Lindquist said he wants justice for Yurek’s kids.
“Everyone in the family is struggling with this preventable death, but especially the 13-year-old son who had to watch his father die, even after he did everything right,” Lindquist said.
KIRO Newsradio has reached out to the Seattle Fire Department, asking whether the list is still in use and how many people are on it. The department answered that it cannot comment on pending litigation.
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