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State by State: June 2020

KENTUCKY: State EMS Board Member Axed Over Violent Post

A Kentucky paramedic was removed from the state’s Board of Emergency Medical Services for an April Facebook post Gov. Andy Beshear said “publicly promoted violent action against law enforcement.”

According to media reports Robbie Smither’s post focused on the arrest of Louisville resident Kendra Burnett for breaking the state’s mandatory COVID-19 quarantine. “This is tyranny,” Smither wrote. “I wish this lady would have used deadly force against these tyrants and then a jury nullify the case.”

Burnett violated the state’s self-quarantine rules at least three times. She was arrested at a Louisville Kroger April 27 after police say she tested positive for the virus and violated a court order to stay home. 

FLORIDA: COVID-19 Claims Seminole Tribe Fire Chief

Donald DiPetrillo, fire chief for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, died April 30 after a seven-week battle with COVID-19 he is suspected to have contracted at an EMS conference in March. 

DiPetrillo, 70, had been hospitalized in south Florida since the week after EMS Today. Multiple other providers were quarantined after the show. 

“We are all saddened by the loss of Chief Donald DiPetrillo,” said Davie’s current fire chief, Julie Downey, who was hired by DiPetrillo in 2004. “He dedicated almost 50 years to the South Florida fire rescue services.”

COLORADO: Remains Identified as Long-Missing Paramedic

Human remains found on Colorado’s Green Mountain in April were identified as Lakewood paramedic Eric Pracht, who had been missing for nearly four years. 

Pracht left home for a walk in July 2016 following an argument with his fiancée and never returned. His family searched for years without luck until a hiker found the bones in William Frederick Hayden Park. The coroner’s office identified Pracht by dental records. No cause of death was cited, but police also reportedly found a gun along with his personal items. 

NEW YORK: ER Doc in COVID Fight Commits Suicide

Dr. Lorna M. Breen, medical director of New York-Presbyterian/Allen Hospital, died of self-inflicted injuries in April in Virginia. She was 49. 

Breen not only treated COVID-19 patients in the hospital’s emergency department, she had survived the disease herself, according to the New York Times. 

The younger Breen had no history of mental illness but had been distracted and detached, her father said. She’d lamented “an onslaught of patients who were dying before they could even be taken out of ambulances.” 


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