“The patient arrived to us, status post MPC rollover on his stomach, with no seat (sic) collar in place, no 0-2, no IV, no monitor, so when we got him, we immediately checked for a pulse and spontaneous respirations and we had none, so we intubated him and began CPR, the trauma physician inserted a thereral line and went from chest tubes and a DPL,” Nurse Julie Teplicki told detectives.
Teplicki was the Trauma Room resuscitation nurse at Broward General Medical Center on Oct. 15, 2001, when Lauderdale Lakes businessman Oral Brown was transported to the emergency room.
He apparently suffered a seizure while driving and was involved in a single vehicle rollover accident. His SUV crashed through a fence at the Swap Shop Flea Market in Fort Lauderdale. He was hog-tied by first responders and was pronounced dead when he arrived at the emergency room.
Teplicki was one of the first persons to see and attempt to treat Brown upon his arrival.
Toward the end of her statement, she was asked if there was anything else she would like to add.
“Just the fact that they brought him in, they tried to downgrade him over the medcom and we denied that request and when he arrived as a role (sic) over MPC, he arrived without a backboard, no seat (sic) collar, no O-2, no monitor, prone with secretions surrounding his mouth and nose as he’s face down,” she reiterated.
The medical examiner reported the cause of death was positional asphyxia or suffocation due to the way Brown was tied up, and the manner was accidental.
A homicide investigation and a grand jury reached the same conclusions. Brown’s family filed a lawsuit over his death against the sheriff’s office, Swap Shop flea market, Broward County and numerous individual deputies and paramedics, which is still pending.
The issue of whether a cervical collar was placed on Brown is important because the autopsy revealed hemorrhaging in his neck muscles, which the homicide report indicates may have been caused by the cervical collar.
“Within the musculature of the neck, there are patchy areas of moderate hemorrhage within the strap muscles on the right and left sides of the neck,” the autopsy report states.
According to the homicide report, Det. Glen Bukata “Arrived at the Fire Station #14 and collected one ‘Stifneck’ cervical collar from Firefighter/Paramedic Lt. London, via property receipt. This collar was then turned over to Dr. Linda Rush, via investigator Dave Coleman at approximately 1006 hours. Dr. Rush later informed me that the bruising on the victim’s neck was consistent with the place of the cervical collar.”
However, the autopsy report does not include any such opinion or the cause of the neck injuries and does not mention a cervical collar.
Some eyewitnesses say Brown was beaten and placed in a chokehold by emergency personnel. Those witnesses also say they were never called to give statements or testify before the grand jury. In addition to Teplicki, trauma physician Dr. Jean Ferber also wrote in her report that Brown was not wearing a cervical collar.
Teplicki has not responded to messages left at her Sunrise home seeking comment. Also, despite repeated requests for interviews, Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives have declined and have not explained why portions of Teplicki’s statement were not included in the homicide report.
That report, written by Det. Glen Bukata, is apparently the only one that mentions a cervical collar. He wrote: “At approximately 1852 hours, I interviewed Paramedic Ken Loukinen, who stated that he crawled into the overturned truck and saw the victim suspended from the seatbelt, in an unresponsive state. Loukinen stated that he placed a cervical collar around victim’s neck, at which time the victim became combative.”
But a review of the transcript of Loukinen’s statement given to Bukata does not show any mention of a cervical collar. Spokespersons with the Broward State Attorney’s Office and the Broward Sheriff’s Office say the discrepancy is due to improper transcription by a BSO secretary, but neither agency has provided a copy of the audio recording of Loukinen’s statement.
The State Attorney’s Office acknowledges they have never listened to the recording.
However, during a deposition taken in the civil case, Loukinen testified that he did not see a cervical collar on Brown.
According to those transcripts, the following exchange took place between DavidDeMaio, a defense attorney in the civil suit, and Loukinen:
DeMaio: Okay, did you put a C-collar on him?
Loukinen: I believe he may have had it on afterwards, after we had him restrained.
Loukinen: I don’t recall. I wasn’t in the rescue truck.
DeMaio: You never saw one placed on him?
Loukinen: Not in a prone position, no.
DeMaio: Okay. So you were — you guys were — EMS was concerned about his — a spinal injury?
Loukinen: We always are concerned with spinal injuries in an accident.
However, he already compromised our concern for his spinal injury by A, getting out of the car himself; B, walking away; C, being combative with us. And how could we possibly restrain him that way?
Loukinen has not responded to repeated questions seeking comment about the case. Mark Emanuele, the attorney who represented him in the lawsuit did not respond to emails or calls made to his Miami office seeking comment.
*Pictured above is the late Oral Brown.
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