Diver's parents settle wrongful death suit with ambulance company

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Posted by on October 16, 2005 at 20:43:03:

In Reply to: Diver's family reaches deal in death suit posted by on October 15, 2005 at 04:37:19:

MONTEREY, Calif. - The parents of a 26-year-old woman who died after a scuba diving accident have settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the ambulance company that responded to the incident.

The lawsuit, which also named Monterey County, claimed that negligence, including alleged heroin use by two paramedics, contributed to the 2002 death of Mollie Suh Yaley.

The scuba diving instructor was found unconscious in about 15 feet of water at the popular Cannery Row dive spot. She lingered in a coma for four days before dying.

Her parents, William and Arlene Yaley, sued American Medical Response and the county, saying the ambulance took 12 minutes to reach the beach from nearby Pacific Grove and paramedics ceased resuscitation efforts after only 22 minutes.

One of two paramedics, Alfonso Martorella, later told The Monterey County Herald that he and his partner, Bruce Faucett, had used heroin earlier that day. Faucett denied the allegations, but court documents showed he took a leave of absence eight months after Yaley's death to receive treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.

Terms of the settlement were confidential. American Medical Response admitted no liability or wrongdoing, which is standard practice in such settlements.

The Yaleys are satisfied with the settlement, which came as the trial was scheduled to begin Monday, said their attorney, Brian Evans.

Monterey County also "is close to finalizing a settlement" with the Yaleys, said county counsel Charles McKee, who added that part of the agreement would involve the county improving its emergency response procedures.

In June, the county hired Westmed Ambulance Inc. to take over ambulance services Jan. 1.

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