In an ambulance speeding through Staten Island, a patient began tending to his own needs. He unbuckled the straps of the gurney on which he lay, and opened the doors of the moving vehicle.
The patient, Yaugeni Kralkin, then jumped out, tumbling onto the asphalt and falling unconscious.
On Friday, Mr. Kralkin, 56, filed suit in State Supreme Court on Staten Island against the city, the Fire Department and the four emergency medical workers who were administering to him that night last June.
Mr. Kralkin has accused the workers of failing in their duties, saying they did not stop him from exiting the ambulance and are thus responsible for the injuries he sustained hitting the pavement on Richmond Avenue.
The seemingly strange assignation of blame hinges on one point: Mr. Kralkin was incredibly drunk, with a blood-alcohol level so high he was unaware of his actions, he says, even as he unbuckled straps and ultimately dived from the vehicle, according to his lawyer. The emergency medical workers failed in their duty to protect him, the lawsuit contends, even from himself, in his inebriated state — attributed to a bottle of cognac.
“The facts are unusual,” said the lawyer, Borislav Chernyy. “He certainly did get himself out of the ambulance, but our position is that he was so grossly unsober, he had so much alcohol in his system, that the condition he was in rendered him the equivalent of helpless, absolutely helpless to make informed decisions about his own safety.”
Mr. Kralkin was knocked unconscious, had a seizure and sustained cuts and bruises from the fall on June 11, 2016, according to the suit, which seeks compensation for his medical bills as well as damages.
A second ambulance was called, and by the time it took him to Staten Island University Hospital South Campus, Mr. Kralkin had a blood-alcohol content of .34 according to medical records provided by his lawyer. (It was likely higher during the period he was in the ambulance.) According to a chart developed by the Michigan State University’s Olin Health Center, blood alcohol from .25 to .34 for males can result in “disorientation,” and “impaired consciousness,” among other symptoms.