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Charleston to pay man $650K after ambulance drug mix-up

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston city officials will pay a man $650,000 after paramedics in a city ambulance gave the man a drug that nearly killed him.

The claim settlement is probably the largest paid by the city in nearly a decade, said City Attorney Paul Ellis, who presented the settlement to City Council members for their approval at a meeting Monday night.

Denzil Hager, 69, fell at home in January and fractured his hip, Ellis said. Paramedics intended to give him saline intravenously, but mistakenly gave him lidocaine, a numbing medication that is a controlled substance.

On his way to the hospital, Hager became unresponsive. He had to be intubated and resuscitated, said one of Hager’s attorneys, Ben Salango of the Charleston firm Preston & Salango.

“Our client, Mr. Hager, spent months in a rehabilitation facility, surviving with the use of a feeding tube,” attorney Brett Preston said. “He still has not fully recovered, although he remains hopeful.”

The lidocaine was inadvertently placed where saline bags are usually kept in the ambulance…

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