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Family suing first responders after daughter's death

Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 11, 2023

MURRAY, Utah — The parents of a 19-year-old killed in a wrong-way crash have filed a lawsuit and are now suing the first responders and medical organizations who attempted to help their daughter.

Brett Doner and Heather Myers said after their daughter Gwendolyn (Gwen) Doner was hit in a head-on collision in 2021, she was given an improper amount of a drug called Ketamine, which they say would ultimately lead to her death.

Doner and her boyfriend were traveling eastbound on I-215 when they were struck head-on by a man high on methamphetamine driving the wrong way.

“When we first arrived at the hospital, she was there, she had broken bones in her legs and one arm. But we were told she was going to be just fine," said Myers.

By that evening, things took a drastic turn for the worst. Gwen didn't wake up and never would, leaving Myers in a state of grief and confusion.

“It's just the doctors never could clearly articulate the link between those injuries, and then after hours and hours of saying she's going to wake up and she's going to be fine then telling us the exact opposite that she wouldn’t," she said.

That's when Myers sought help from lawyers, filing for medical records which revealed her daughter died of anoxic brain injury. She later learned that first responders gave Doner sixteen times the maximum dose of Ketamine after the car collision, which would cause her to go without oxygen for 7-10 minutes.

“I believe with all my heart that they were trying to help her, that they were doing the best they could with the training and safety protocols and procedures that were in place at that time," said Myers. "But unfortunately, a fatal mistake was made."

After battling for months, she and her lawyers finally obtained body camera footage of the response to the crash where a paramedic with the Murray City Fire Department said she gave Gwen 500 milligrams of Ketamine.

The lawsuit claims the paramedic stated, panickedly, in the body camera video: "She wasn't supposed to give her that much. So anyway, she stopped breathing now."

The defendants listed in the lawsuit include Intermountain Healthcare, Intermountain Life Flight, Murray City, Murray City Fire Department, Gold Cross Ambulance, United Fire Authority, Utah Highway Patrol, and other individual first responders.

FOX 13 News reached out to all the defendants and many replied saying they cannot comment on pending litigation.

"We can say, however, that we're always committed to providing the safest and highest quality of care possible for all our patients," said Jess Gomez with Intermountain Healthcare.

"To this date, no one has ever reached out to tell us the truth," said Myers

Myers said she is fighting for more clarity from medical institutions and training for first responders.

“We want change, we want improved training and safety procedures and protocols put in place," she said, "Why was drawing 500 allowable, why weren't there oxygen or other breathing apparatuses nearby?”

Above all, the reason she is suing, Myers says, is to prevent this from happening again.

"I want my daughter back but at this point we're just going to have to settle for change so that this doesn't happen to another family."