Amazon Caused Joliet Worker's Agonizing Death: Lawsuit
Amazon needlessly delayed the 911 call to the medical professionals who were less than a half mile away, the lawsuit states.

By John Ferak, Patch Staff
Jan 23, 2019 5:41 pm CT | Updated Jan 23, 2019 11:58 pm CT

Amazon Caused Joliet Worker's Agonizing Death: Lawsuit

JOLIET, IL - A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Amazon blaming the Joliet facility with causing the death of Emerald Drive employee Thomas Becker on Jan. 23, 2017. After Becker fell to the ground showing signs of a heart attack, he clutched his chest. He turned to two coworkers, telling them repeatedly, "Do not let me die!" the lawsuit filed in Will County claims.

The lawsuit, first reported by Joliet Patch, says that Amazon waited approximately 25 minutes to notify the Joliet Fire Department, even though Joliet Fire Station No. 3 is less than a half mile away on Laraway Road. Furthermore, "in spite of numerous AED boxes throughout (the) Amazon Facility, none of the boxes contained an actual working AED," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Becker's widow, Linda, by the Joliet-area law firm of Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol., which is Will County's largest law firm.

Thomas Becker was 57 when he died of cardiac arrest.

The Will County lawsuit states the following events occurred surrounding Becker's death:

Becker began his normal shift at the facility in Joliet at 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 23, 2017. He worked in an area known as the shop cage. The area is adjacent to the loading dock in the rear southeast corner of the Amazon plant..

Then, around 3:50 a.m., Thomas Becker experienced a medical emergency, according to the lawsuit.

"Suffering from a medical emergency, Thomas Becker, grabbed his chest and collapsed to the ground within the Shop Cage and was in close proximity to Mr. Matt Kottman and Mr. Ryan Veverka," the lawsuit states.

The two men immediately notified Amazon's security workers for help. The two men remained on the phone "for an extended period of time" because Amazon security needed to know Becker's name, age, date of birth, etc., "before they would call an ambulance," the lawsuit notes.

"Without legal justification or cause, Amazon needlessly delayed the 911 call to the medical professionals who were less than a half mile away from its facility," the lawsuit states.

According to the wrongful death case, about 25 minutes after Becker first experienced symptoms of a heart attack, "Amazon's employees then contacted 911 and an ambulance from the neighboring Joliet Fire Department's Station 3 less than half-mile away was dispatched."

The lawsuit also noted that "Amazon had in place a written policy that no deaths were to occur on its premises."

But even though the Joliet Fire Department firefighter/paramedics got to the scene, "Amazon then needlessly forced the responding medical professionals to come through its front doors, through its security, and to walk through its vast 1.5 million square foot facility to reach the southeast corner of the facility where the shop cage and Thomas Becker lay, further delaying the medical professionals' response time by another 5 to 7 minutes," the lawsuit points out.

By the time the Joliet Fire Department emergency crews made it to Becker, "he was no longer conscious, and Thomas Becker was not breathing," Cservenyak's lawsuit states.

Becker was taken swiftly to Presence St. Joseph's Medical Center by the Joliet Fire Department. He was pronounced dead at 4:58 a.m. by Dr. Bilal A. Khan, "who determined that Thomas Becker had suffered a cardiac arrest," the lawsuit notes.

The cause of his death was ultimately ruled to be a heart attack. Becker was survived by his wife of 32 years, Linda; Jennifer Becker, an adult daughter; David Thornton, an adult son; and Tiffany Becker, an adult daughter.

"Shortly after Thomas Becker's death, Amazon then filled all the empty AED boxes throughout its facility with functioning AEDs," the Joliet law firm points out on page 6 of their lawsuit.

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