Family of boy hit by shrapnel seeks $47 million

Family of boy hit by shrapnel seeks $47 million
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A child's tragic death has his parents demanding answers and $47 million from Thurston County.

The tragic accident took place on the Fourth of July 2007. A cannon exploded during a backyard party, shooting a piece of shrapnel hundreds of feet. The piece of metal stabbed 8-year-old Devan Vyborny. The boy did not survive.

Now, more than 14 months later, the boy's family is taking legal action, but not with anyone having to do with that cannon. Instead, the boy's parents are blaming rescue crews and 911 dispatchers.

One of the family's attorneys said it was not easy for the boy's parents to take the first steps toward a potential lawsuit against he county. But the attorney alleged several errors were made by the very people who were sent in to try to save the boy's life.

The court documents allege "witnesses observed that the Medic One personnel appeared overwhelmed by the situation, and they did not know what medical devices to use on Devan."

The documents also state the medics did not get the boy to the hospital fast enough, and even contend the ambulance drove too slowly.

The 911 operators on duty "negligently canceled" a helicopter airlift, the family alleges, and the county's medics and 911 staff are not properly trained.

Despite the scathing allegations, the rescue crews actions had not been called into question until the claim was filed.

County officials said they're just learning about the potential lawsuit, and cannot comment about specifics.

An attorney for the family said the the exceptionally large claim for damages is meant to help all the family members traumatized by the accident, and also to send a strong message to Thurston County regarding its rescue crew's alleged incompetence.