Last December, an engineer one day shy of retirement, died while exercising on a treadmill in Oregon. His widow filed a lawsuit against the gym on his behalf for $13 million because the only staff member at the 24 Hour Fitness in Portland did not know how to respond to an emergency.
David Rutledge, the deceased, was only 62 years old at the time of his demise. He collapsed on a treadmill sometime between 5:00 AM and 5:30 AM. A fellow patron observed the situation and sought the lone employee. The worker, however, did not call 911 immediately and could not find the automated external defibrillator.
The medical professionals who responded to the eventual call were unable to restart Mr. Rutledge’s heart. His wife sued the fitness center because, under Oregon law, defibrillators must be present at health clubs used by 50 or more people, and the gym failed to train its employees properly if the only person on staff did not know how to use one.
The lawsuit is still pending.