If a murder is committed and a handgun found at the scene, would you expect the police to hand the gun over to the defense attorney? Essentially the Boston police and the Suffolk district attorney’s office did the equivalent when they decided to hand over a possibly faulty ventilator to the manufacturer and let it examine the device that shut down during a power outage and led to the death of a 15-year-old.
Josh Wall, first assistant district attorney, explained that police and prosecutors gave the device to the company so trained engineers at Pulmonetic Systems Inc., the manufacturer, could confirm that the ventilator shut off during the power outage, and determine why.
Wall said the engineers could retrieve the information without disassembling the device, which he described as a sort of “black box” that may have recorded any alarm that went off. The company will videotape the retrieval of the data, Wall said.
Fernando’s mother, Ilia Torres, said she had not hired a lawyer but would pursue a lawsuit if she learned a mistake by the manufacturer or the contractor that supplied the device – New England Home Therapies – led to the death of her son, who was born with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and mental retardation.
The reported serial number of the ventilator places it among more than 10,000 machines recalled by the company in 2004 because of the potential for the backup battery to fail. Torres said police did not tell her the ventilator was going to be returned to New England Home Therapies, the contractor for the state’s low-income health insurance program that supplied Vargas’s ventilator, and sent to Pulmonetic.
The assistant D.A. said that while police and prosecutors are still investigating Vargas’s death, they do not believe anyone is criminally responsible. Yet the fact that the ventilator may have been subjected to a national recall didn’t suggest a direct link to the cause of death?