In a sad case out of Bay Shore on Long Island, a 22-year-old woman died in February 2012 after collapsing in the bathroom of Planet Fitness after an early-morning workout. Sadness turns to anger once you learn that the gym’s staff was aware Emily Hamlin was dying for nearly 5 minutes before they dialed 911, and that a full 8 minutes elapsed before an employee entered the restroom to try and help the poor girl.
Her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Planet Fitness and its employees for not coming to her aid in a timely manner. If they had, her life might have been saved.
Eight Minutes of Inaction
According to the New York Post, a woman in the bathroom heard Hamlin fall to the floor and went to the front desk to summon help at 5:16 a.m. Getting nowhere with the man at the desk, she returned to the bathroom while another woman implored staff to call 911.
According to a time-stamped video of the scene, the employee picked up the phone to dial 911 some 4.5 minutes after learning Hamlin was apparently suffering from a serious medical condition. The employee insisted he could not enter the women’s restroom because he was a male.
A female employee finally entered the restroom 8 minutes after Hamlin was first discovered and found her pulse to be weak — meaning she was still alive. Emergency help arrived at 5:28 a.m. Hamlin was pronounced dead just over a half-hour later.
According to the lawsuit, the gym is required to have a defibrillator present at all times, as well as at least one employee qualified to use it. The Planet Fitness in question allegedly had neither.
If these facts are correct, the apparent negligence in this case runs several levels deep.
‘Failure of Corporate Policy’
Hamlin’s parents filed a lawsuit against Planet Fitness and its employees this week in a Suffolk County court. An attorney for Planet Fitness has said the gym is not responsible for the death.
But the family’s attorney told NBC New York the incident was the result of a “failure of corporate policy,” citing the apparent restriction on staff entering opposite-sex bathrooms, even in an emergency, without another staff member of the opposite sex immediately available.
Hamlin’s mother told the station that she can’t imagine an employee being fired for saving someone’s life. Can you? Would company policy be your greatest concern if someone were dying?
Wrongful death lawsuits are all that aggrieved family members have when something like this happens, and they can alleviate their expenses and send a strong message to the company to change its policies so this does not happen again. But, regardless of the outcome of the case, one family’s loss will never be undone.
“No dollar amount will bring my daughter back,” the girl’s mother told the Post.
Oshman & Mirisola is a New York City law firm committed to holding people and businesses accountable when their failures cause someone to be seriously injured or killed. We handle cases in New York and New Jersey. Contact us today for a free consultation if your family needs representation in a personal injury or wrongful death case.