Plaintiff, who is a doctor himself, suffered a strike while driving home from the hospital. A police officer at the scene did not immediately call an ambulance because she deduced from his slurred speech, disorientation and vomiting, that he was intoxicated, and, after a struggle, placed him in handcuffs. An ambulance arrived and left. A second ambulance took him to the hospital later, but the brain damage he suffered rendered him unable to care for himself. This lawsuit, alleging a damaging delay in medical treatment, is against the City, the responding officer, the ambulance company, and the paramedic who drove the first ambulance away without taking plaintiff to the hospital. Experts testified earlier treatment would have reduced the neurological effects of the stroke and the permanent brain damage. Counsel for the City argued plaintiff gambled with his own life because he did not take his blood pressure medication. One of the jury instructions given by the court was: “A police officer is not liable for his act or omission, exercising due care, in the execution or enforcement of any law.” The court also instructed on plaintiff’s comparative negligence. A jury returned a defense verdict. The appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial with regard to the City and the police officer after finding it was likely the police immunity instruction was misunderstood by the jury and was prejudicial to plaintiff. As to the comparative negligence instruction, the appellate court also found error and prejudice to plaintiff since the alleged negligence of plaintiff with regard to his blood pressure medication occurred before the first responders arrived at the scene, concluding a new trial was warranted as to all the defendants. (Harb v. City of Bakersfield (Cal. App. Fifth Dist., Div. 1; January 23, 2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 606, [183 Cal.Rptr.3d 59].)
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