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State by State: September 2020

COLORADO: Ketamine Use Probed in Man’s Death in Custody

After numerous complaints, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will investigate the use of ketamine by EMS prior to the 2019 police custody death of 23-year-old Black man Elijah McClain. McClain was walking home when he was stopped by Aurora police. A struggle followed where an officer used a hold that restricted blood flow to McClain’s brain; paramedics administered ketamine to sedate him. McClain then suffered a cardiac arrest in the ambulance and died days later. A coroner’s report said McClain had therapeutic levels of ketamine in his system, but a family attorney says it was twice what was appropriate for his size. 

VIRGINIA: Fatal Crash Sends Former EMS Provider to Prison

A former EMS provider was ordered to serve a year in prison for causing a fatal accident in 2018 by running a red light. William V. Watson, 42, was sentenced in King George Circuit Court to seven years with all but one suspended on an involuntary manslaughter conviction. Margaretta Ann Davis, 64, was heading south on U.S. 301 on Sept. 17, 2018, when her Nissan Quest was struck by a 2017 Ford F–450 ambulance driven by Watson. Judge Herbert Hewitt also gave Watson a suspended 12-month jail sentence for reckless driving and a $100 fine for failing to obey a traffic light. 

CALIFORNIA: Ambo Assoc. Publication Honors 150 Years of EMS

A special online commemorative edition of the California Ambulance Association’s Siren magazine published in July celebrates the history of EMS in the state. Primarily recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Wedworth-Townsend Act that created the first licensed paramedic program, Siren actually traces the beginnings of California EMS back to 1868, when the Los Angeles Police Department operated ambulances and freestanding emergency departments known as receiving hospitals. Find the issue at www.the-caa.org/docs/siren/CAA-Siren-20-3.pdf. 

MINNESOTA: ImageTrend Releases Annual CrewCare Report

Drawing data from its CrewCare mobile app, ImageTrend has released its second annual report on responders’ stress and mental well-being, Health of Our Emergency Responders: A CrewCare Report. The new report aggregates anonymous first responder data collected during 2019; its goal is to provide insight about “life stressors and associated factors related to careers, physical health, support, sleep, mental health, and burnout within the first responder community.” Find it at www.crewcarelife.com/crewcare-results/. 

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