June 30, 2009
The Maryland Daily Record has a report on one Yvonne Boughter, widow and former mother of two (now one). She has moved on from having settled her lawsuit with the Days Inn Hotel in Ocean City to suing the city’s fire department, and by extension, the city itself, to the tune of twenty million dollars.
The facts I gather from the report are disturbing, not so much in what she alleged to be negligent behavior on the part of Days Inn or that of the agents of the city, but she seems to act like she has no responsibility in the incident whatsoever. After spending the night in the room where she and her family fell ill, experiencing respiratory illness, she called the department at 9:43AM. She then called at 2:00PM to follow up. What happened in those four hours? Why did she not move her family out of the room? Why did she not elicit the help of the hotel staff, or strangers? After her 2:00PM phone call, her suite alleges she “lapsed back into unconsciousness.”
These, I’m certain, are questions that should be raised should this suit come to court. I still can’t get the idea that she, her husband, nor her two children had the conventional wisdom of leaving the hotel room and not coming back. I can’t imagine why she, in the absence of an EMS, did not try to hail a cab. I can’t imagine what kind of conversations went on in that hotel room. I hope for Ms. Boughter’s sake that it was not her words and deeds that kept her family away from a hospital that day.
911 calls, for all that they’re made out to be, should not be the only thing that a person in danger needs to be responsible for. If your house were on fire, after you call 911, do you just stand there and wait? Or do you crawl to the nearest exit? Miss Boughter’s story is a cautionary tale of over-reliance on public service.