MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The family of a teen shot weeks before leaving to college has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in his death.
Brian Brown, 19, was a high school graduate, star football player and was ready to continue his education in California.
On June 14, he was shot three times in the back. His girlfriend drove him to Jackson Health North. However, they transferred him to Aventura Hospital, where he died a few hours later.
The hospital said protocol in Florida is to send trauma cases like Brian Brown to a trauma level hospital.
That delay in treatment, the Brown family's attorney argued, were the crucial moments necessary to save his life.
"We believe what happened is that (Jackson) called 911 and had him transferred to another facility," said attorney Robert Kelley. "Which, ultimately, we believe, caused his death."
The Brown family is now pursuing a medical malpractice case against Jackson Health North.
"His whole life was ahead of him," said father Craig Brown. "Next week he was leaving to California. He worked hard to get a football scholarship. He was excited."
The Miami-Dade Police Dept. wrote in an arrest report that the alleged killer, Ed Lamarre, 22, was buying marijuana from Brown. The family said Brown was selling video games.
Regardless, they think Brown's life could have been saved.
"He's not here anymore and I think he could've still been here if the right thing was done at the right moment," said the grieving father.
Jackson Health System responded to a request about the incident:
"In general, Florida law requires patients with trauma-level injuries to be treated at a trauma center. When a traumatically injured patient is voluntarily brought to an emergency department at any hospital that does not have a trauma center, the patient needs to be stabilized while 911 is called to transport the patient to the nearest trauma center."
The suspect's arrest has at least given Brown's family a degree of comfort.
"The grief and the sadness, I mean, it's still there, but to not be looking over your shoulder that, ya know, this guy's still out there, what if there's something more to it," Brown added. "That was a big burden lifted off of me and my family."
Lamarre was charged with murder. He admitted to police he had no intention of paying Brown during the exchange and fired his weapon in a struggle inside Brown's girlfriend's vehicle.
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