Bizarre Incident Sends Woman to Hospital
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) - A woman sitting in a convertible on a warm August night suffered "life-threatening" injuries when a Fire Department ambulance doused her with toxic chemicals and didn't stop until she was soaked, she claims in court.
Maureen Koeppen and her husband sued the City of Columbus Fire Division and numerous John Does in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
Koeppen says in the lawsuit that she was stopped at a red light, in the right-hand lane, on the evening of Aug. 6.
"Next to her vehicle in the left turning lane, and also stopped at the red light, was a red Columbus ambulatory medic response and transport vehicle. The Columbus vehicle's flashers were off, and it was not on a run," according to the complaint.
"Plaintiff Maureen Koeppen's vehicle is a convertible, and the top was down on this warm August evening. While sitting at the red light, an extremely large amount of warm fluid began discharging from the Columbus ambulance vehicle onto Mrs. Koeppen. It was like a garden hose began spraying all over Mrs. Koeppen.
"The fluid began spraying onto the back of Mrs. Koeppen's neck, and when she turned toward the truck in response the fluid began spraying all over her face and into her mouth. Mrs. Koeppen tried to avoid the fluid while trying to get the attention of the Columbus personnel, but the fluid continued discharging onto Mrs. Koeppen and into her vehicle."
Koeppen says the ambulance drove off, leaving her "thoroughly soaked - fluid had gone onto her face, chest, arms and back of her neck, and into her eyes, nose and mouth. She was drenched - fluid covered her, and the front, sides and inside of her vehicle.
"The fluid tasted like a chemical. And almost immediately after the incident, Mrs. Koeppen began noticing lesions and burn marks on her face, the back of her neck, cheeks, mouth and chin."
Koeppen says she was in good health until then, but that "immediately after the incident" she "began suffering serious and significant health issues, resulting in her hospitalization eight days later, on August 14, 2013."
"Upon admission, Mrs. Koeppen was initially diagnosed as suffering from exposure to a toxic chemical. Mrs. Koeppen has been hospitalized every day since August 14, 2013. Her prognosis is life-threatening."
Koeppen seeks damages for negligence; her husband seeks damages for loss of consortium. They are represented by Scott Stitt, with James E. Arnold and Associates in Columbus.
Stitt said in an interview that he and the Koeppens still are unsure what the chemical was.