Judge guts lawsuit in Pa. 911 snow death

Mitchell died of natural causes, but his children claimed he might have been saved had services been dispatched sooner


By Joe Mandak
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — A federal judge has all but gutted a lawsuit filed by the children of a Pittsburgh man who died after three ambulances were unable to reach his residence during a major snowstorm last year.

Attorneys for Curtis Mitchell's surviving adult children sued the city, its emergency services officials, and some individual paramedics. The paramedics couldn't drive to his residence and, based on 911 transcripts, refused to help Mitchell get to any of three ambulances that got no closer than a block to his home.

Mitchell died of natural causes, but his children claimed he might have been saved had he gotten to a hospital.

U.S. Judge Gary Lancaster didn't reject the factual basis of the case. But, he says federal law doesn't require any "affirmative right" to emergency aid.

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