Local News

Chapel Hill player's family drops wrongful death suit

Posted August 13, 2010

— The family of a Chapel Hill high school football player who died in August 2008 has voluntarily dismissed their wrongful death suit against Orange County Emergency Services and Orange County.

Atlas Fraley, 17, a senior offensive guard and defensive tackle, participated in an Aug. 12, 2008, scrimmage at Middle Creek High in Apex. He called 911 at 1:46 p.m., complaining of cramps and dehydration and asking for intravenous fluids.

Paramedic James Griffin treated and discharged Fraley by 2:10 p.m. His parents found him unresponsive in their home that evening.

An autopsy report did not list a definite cause of death, but said Fraley had a history of cramping and similar symptoms, which could have combined with dehydration to result in a "fatal cardiac event or even an acute asthmatic attack."

In their suit, Fraley's parents alleged that Griffin provided inadequate care for their son, violated 13 EMS protocols for his medical condition and did not attempt to contact them before leaving him home alone.

The Fraley family is proceeding in the suit against Griffin.

Attorney Donald Strickland, who is representing the family, said they decided to drop the suit against the county and EMS because they have declared sovereign immunity. But they have the right to file another suit against them within a year.

State officials found no reason to revoke Griffin's paramedic credentials, but Orange County EMS determined that he violated protocol and revoked his privileges in the county. He resigned two weeks after Fraley's death.


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  • opinion2010 Aug 13, 2010

    otolerance- there's still nothing to justify him not calling his parents. I cannot imagine the pain that they are going through and have gone through losing their son, but they have to rationally think about the reasons he did not call them first and foremost before they blame someone else for what appears to be a tragic accident to such a young and promising life.

  • jackcdneh1017 Aug 13, 2010

    As a former paramedic and now a registered nurse, I can say that in my opinion this boy died needlessly. There is plenty of blame to go around but any trained medical person who suspects or should have suspected in this case an electrolyte disturbance should have brought this patient to hospital for bloodwork as a minimum. It sounds to me that the child (emphasis on child) was refusing to be transported and signed a waiver and in that instance, since he was a minor, this should have been ignored by EMT's. In this case if the kid was refusing to go, the police or his parents should have been called before these guys just left him alone at home. Good samaritan laws protect people who try to help, but you are still held to the standard of providing care up to your level of training and expertise. Bottom line, this was a failure of a healthcare provider to understand the risks the patient was facing and therefore is negligence when one holds himself out to be a qualified provider.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Aug 13, 2010

    0 Tolerance aka Ms. Turner, I don't disagree with miketroll3572. I have two children. I don't quite understand what reasoning I would have for suing the EMS. I'm the kind of person that FIRST makes sure my family did everything THEY were supposed to do. If that's true, then I look to see if someone else was grosely negligent. If my family didn't do their part, then they are just as responsible. No need to punish someone else when my family didn't do their part either. And in this case, the son didn't contact his parents or a neighbor. And this son had a history of these problems. His death was not a total shock. Therefore, its gold digging to sue in this situation.

    By the way, someone in an earlier post deemed me a racist. In their defense, I did make another statement, about playing football, that GOLO evidently removed. I didn't think it was a racist comment. I simply thought it was a race-based comment. So whoever called me a racist, they had more ammunition than you now see.

  • 0 Tolerance aka Ms.Turner Aug 13, 2010

    It is so easy to pass judgement with out even stopping to think...have you stopped to think that maybe he called 911 thinking something was really wrong with him and then when the EMT comes and dismisses his illness he didn't bother calling his parent b/c maybe they made him feel like it was all in his head...no one knows what they said to him!

  • wildcat Aug 13, 2010

    otolerance - then the parents should look at themselves and not play the blame game. They made the right choice to NOT sue.

  • OGE Aug 13, 2010

    Are his parents medically trained???

    Well some parents think they are qualified to be a Teacher so why not an EMT too!

  • NMBound Aug 13, 2010

    I agree it is odd that he didn't call his parents to let them know that he didn't feel well or that he didn't tell them that he had called 911. I am sorry for their loss, but it is hard not to doubt their decision to sue as it has become such common practice for people to sue. I am not by any means saying that this is the case but it as to make all of us wonder.

  • 0 Tolerance aka Ms.Turner Aug 13, 2010

    miketroll3572...your post is pathetic!

  • 0 Tolerance aka Ms.Turner Aug 13, 2010

    I can't believe these post!!! I know this family personally and how dare you insinuate that this is all for money or that they are bad parents!!! Imagine if this were your child and one moment he was there and the next he was gone...what parent would want anyone else to go through that pain?

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Aug 13, 2010

    Maybe he didnt get to call his parents! Maybe he died right after the paramedics left. Maybe he thought he would be ok and would talk to them when they got home. Alot of maybes here.