Widow Sues 24 Hour Fitness over Husband’s Death

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The widow of a man who died on a treadmill at a Portland, Ore., fitness club has filed a lawsuit, alleging the club was unprepared to deal with medical emergencies.

David Rutledge, 62, was running on a treadmill on Dec. 21 when he collapsed. A gym member came to Rutledge’s aid and went to find an employee to call 911 and bring an AED. The member found employee Corey Lay in the restroom, but Lay didn’t immediately call 911 and didn’t know where the club’s AED was located. 

David’s wife, Stacy Rutledge, is suing the club for $13 million, alleging that the 24 Hour Fitness in Portland’s Pearl District hadn’t adequately trained its employees on how to respond to an emergency.

"We were saddened by the passing of our club member and our thoughts are with the member’s family," the club said in a statement to The Oregonian. "As a matter of policy, 24 Hour Fitness does not comment on pending litigation."

When medics arrived at the club, they were unable to save Rutledge. Oregon law requires that all fitness clubs have an AED on hand.

"Every minute of delay caused Mr. Rutledge a further loss of chance of survival," the suit states.

According to the lawsuit, doctors were surprised at David's death, noting that they would normally be able to restart the heart of a man of his age and fitness.

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