SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — More questions are arising around EMS protocols after two EMS workers were charged in the death of a Springfield man.
Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan were charged in the death of Earl Moore Jr.
Moore died in December after officials say the EMS workers placed him face-down in a stretcher while he was in medical distress.
The two EMS workers are charged with first-degree murder.
Lifestar follows Springfield Memorial’s protocols and procedures. One of those protocols prohibits a patient from being transported in the prone position.
But State’s Attorney Dan Wright said those protocols weren’t followed the night Earl Moore Jr. died.
Friday’s preliminary hearing included testimony from the Illinois State Police about interviews they conducted with the pair and proper protocols the EMTs should have taken.
Prosecutors said Cadigan and Finley knew that their actions by placing Moore face down on a gurney could cause death or serious bodily harm.
"They’re clearly acting together as paramedics. They clearly both take him to the hospital in the prone position with straps compressed so tightly that two ribs are fractured and he couldn’t breathe," Wright said.
On a phone call to the hospital, Finley described Moore as “combative and confused.”
However, officials said the Illinois State Police’s investigation did not find Moore to be combative but was in distress and unable to assist himself.
“There’s no basis for first degree murder. If you saw the videos, I mean, he was certainly non-compliant. He was confused," Edward Unsell, Peter Cadigan’s Attorney, said.
According to Springfield Memorial’s patient restraint policy, a patient is never to be transported in the prone position, and when a patient is restrained, circulation checks need to be done every 15 minutes of all restrained limbs.
Doug Wolfberg is a former EMS provider. He used to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before becoming an EMS attorney. He said vital signs always need to be checked.
"When a patient is restrained in the fashion that Mr. Moore was, you would have to continuously assess, at minimum his airway," Wolfberg said.
Prosecutors also said Cadigan did go through trainings on patient transport and asphyxia, including not putting a patient in the prone position.
Those trainings were in May and June of 2022, about six months before the incident.
The autopsy report found Moore had two rib fractures that were consistent with where the straps were.
"I've known since the early 1980s when I got my training, that if you restrain a person in certain positions, their breathing is going to be made more difficult. If you don’t know that, you shouldn’t be a caregiver because that’s basic EMS101," Wolfberg said.
We reached out to Springfield Memorial to ask further questions on their protocols. We didn’t hear back.
During last week's hearing, evidence was also presented claiming Finley and Cadigan never took Moore's vitals while he was being transported to the hospital.
In a recording of a call between Finley and the hospitals ER Department, Finley is heard saying she wasn't going to mess with vitals because she didn't want to "poke the bear."
Both Cadigan and Finley will be back in court on Feb. 6.