The city has settled with the family of a D.C. man who died of a heart attack hours after paramedics told him he was suffering from acid reflux.
Edward Givens was 39 years old and father of two boys.
“It's getting better, but it's still hard,” said Lolitha Givens.
The pain over losing her son will never go away completely.
On the evening of December 2, 2008, paramedics showed up to a Northeast D.C. home to help Edward Givens, who was complaining of chest pains. He also had trouble breathing, but the paramedics suggested he had acid reflux and told him to take Pepto-Bismol instead of taking him to the hospital.
“When that guy said to him you don't need to go to the hospital, I should have took him, because I do that,” said Lolitha. “I should have took him. So I feel real bad about that and I'm trying to get over that.”
“The liability to the city was because of the negligence of the operators coming here, falsely diagnosing, misleading Mr. Givens and his family into thinking he didn't need to go to the hospital, and then worsening his condition by telling him all he needed was Pepto-Bismol,” said William Lightfoot, the family’s attorney.
The D.C. inspector general investigated and determined the paramedics who responded made those mistakes. That opened the door to a $250,000 settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family against the city.
“The money is very helpful to Ms. Givens and the sons of Edwards Givens to go to college," said Lightfoot. "But no, it doesn't stop the city from wrongdoing."
“When you call 911 for an emergency, you expect something and that didn't happen,” said Lolitha Givens.
FOX 5 reached out to the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, but did not receive a comment.
The Givens family hopes this case will send a message to all first responders to always follow protocol.