The city manager of Mesquite has taken issue with Nevada's lieutenant governor, Dr. Lonnie Hammargren, over the medical treatment given motorcyclist Butch Laswell in the critical minutes after Laswell's fatal crash.
Hammargren, a Las Vegas neurosurgeon and friend of Laswell's, said earlier this week he could have saved the cyclist's life had he been allowed to perform a tracheotomy at the scene.Laswell, 37, died Sunday in a helicopter ambulance en route to University Medical Center. He crashed his motorcycle when jumping a pedestrian bridge in the small community 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
Funeral services for Laswell were held in Las Vegas Wednesday afternoon.
The Clark County Coroner's office said Laswell died of "asphyxiation due to a crushed larynx." Other injuries determined in an autopsy would not be released except to family members, a spokeswoman said.
"I could have saved his life if I would have been allowed to proceed (at the accident scene) with the tracheotomy," Hammargren said Sunday. In the medical procedure, a cut is made in the patient's trachea to create a breathing hole.
Bill DaVee, Mesquite city manager, Wednesday defended the actions of the city's paramedics, who transported Laswell by ambulance to a point where he was picked up by the helicopter.
"As a physician, had he (Hammargren) demanded control of the scene, and asserted he was taking responsibility for the treatment, we would have allowed him to take control," DaVee said. "But otherwise, it was our responsibility to get the patient to the next level of treatment as soon as possible.
"He was asked to step aside so the crew could prepare him for transport," DaVee said. "He responded reluctantly. If he had demanded to take over the scene, we would have allowed him to do so."
Laswell suffered his fatal injuries Sunday afternoon when he jumped his motorcycle over a pedestrian bridge at the Oasis resort. Promoters said gusting winds may have blown him off course. After soaring nearly 60 feet in the air, he crashed down on the concrete pavement, to the left of the landing ramp.
Hammargren was not allowed to ride in the ambulance, but followed and rode with Laswell in the helicopter.