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State by State: May 2019

ALASKA: Search Ends for Air Medical Crew

The air ambulance company that lost three Juneau-based crew members in a late-January crash announced March 29 that it was ceasing its search for their remains. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the U.S. Coast Guard initially called off the search after nearly three days of around-the-clock efforts to locate the Guardian Flight turboprop and the three people inside: pilot Patrick Coyle, 63; flight nurse Stacie Morse, 30; and flight paramedic Margaret Langston, 43. Guardian took up the search for the crew and the wreckage of the Beechcraft King Air 200. The two-month search yielded the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and fragments of the aircraft, but no remains of the crew. 

MINNESOTA: House Passes Paramedic Drug Bill 

The Minnesota House unanimously passed a bill March 25 that would allow paramedics and other emergency personnel to administer complex medicine to people with rare diseases. The bill takes away liability for emergency personnel who administer complex medicine, according to the Mankato Free Press. Major ambulance providers in the state already have plans for emergency personnel to administer some complex medicines, but rural Minnesota providers are still concerned about liability issues, the article states. State senators have written a similar version of the bill and expect the Senate to address it soon, according to the Free Press.

KANSAS: Former EMT Gets Probation for Morphine Theft

A former EMT with Jackson County EMS was sentenced March 14 to five years of federal probation for stealing morphine. Colby VanWagoner, 33, admitted to tampering with vials of morphine sulfate, replacing the morphine with saline solution and putting the vials back into narcotics boxes. Conditions of his supervised release require VanWagoner to complete an approved substance-abuse program and not engage in any occupation that would give him access to controlled substances without previous approval from his probation officer, according to the Tribune News Service.

NEW YORK: Overtime Limit Lifted for FDNY Ambulance Workers

A limit on overtime for FDNY ambulance workers has been lifted as the number of calls in the city continues to rise, according to an FDNY release. With calls expected to reach 2 million in 2019, Oren Barzilay, head of the EMS union, told the New York Post that hiring at least 5,000 workers might be better than paying overtime. Last year, $48 million was spent on extra EMS hours, the release states, adding that 4,133 paramedics and EMTs respond to almost 1.9 million calls annually. Extra hours are not mandatory for ambulance workers, and officials will re-examine the issue this summer, according to the release.

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