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Paramedics in Illinois charged with murder after patient dies

<i>Sangamon County Sheriff Dept</i><br/>
Sangamon County Sheriff Dept

By Andi Babineau, CNN

Two paramedics in Illinois are facing murder charges after a patient died of positional asphyxiation shortly after he was taken to a hospital in December, court documents say.

Peggy Finley, 44, and Peter Cadigan, 50, responded to a home in Springfield on December 18 after police requested medical assistance for a 911 caller who “was suffering hallucinations due to alcohol withdrawal,” according to a news release from the Springfield Police Department.

Body camera footage released by police shows Finley entering the home’s rear bedroom as one of the officers briefs her on the patient, Earl L. Moore, Jr.

Finley is heard yelling at Moore to get up and walk out to the ambulance. “You’re gonna have to walk ’cause we ain’t carrying you!” she says. “I am seriously not in the mood for this dumb sh*t.”

Two of the officers can be seen helping Moore outside and onto the gurney. Cadigan helps position Moore and both paramedics strap him onto the stretcher in a prone position.

“The Springfield Police Department was later notified the patient had passed after arriving at the hospital,” the police department news release says.

According to the coroner’s autopsy report, Moore died of “compressional and positional asphyxia due to prone facedown restraint on a paramedic transportation cot/stretcher by tightened straps across back and lower body in the setting of lethargy and underlying chronic alcoholism.”

Finley and Cadigan were arrested on January 9 and charged with first-degree murder, court documents show.

They’re being held at the Sangamon County Detention Facility on $1 million bond each.

Both are scheduled to be back in court on January 19.

CNN has reached out to the attorney for Finley and Cadigan for comment and has not yet received a reply.

Alcohol withdrawal is a medical issue that occurs when a person accustomed to regular alcohol consumption either decreases their intake or cuts it off entirely, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal vary widely among people experiencing it, and can include anything from insomnia, anxiety, or agitation in mild cases, to delirium tremens, seizures, or hallucinations in severe cases, the agency says.

Lifestar Ambulance Service, which employed the paramedics, declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

CNN has also reached out to the county’s executive chairperson for the Office of Emergency Management regarding its ambulance service contracts and has not yet received a response.

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