2016 Year in Review: Top EMS News Stories
News of suicides by paramedics and firefighters were prevalent in news coverage this year, furthering the concern about mental health in EMS. Four of the top 10 news stories of the year related to suicides by first responders, and multiple other suicides were reported this year. With organizations like the Code Green Campaign and programs being put in place to educate supervisors and first responders on mental health in the workplace, this is a trend that EMS agencies are working to reverse. For now, however, the headlines highlight the seriousness of the issue.
Another pervasive trend in EMS-related news this year was the opioid crisis. Whether it was numerous reports of agencies around the country stocking up on Narcan, or harrowing tales of parents overdosing around their children, the stories were chilling. Conditions in some situations even became dangerous for first responders, as first responders in Pa. were warned about the dangers of responding to calls involving carfentanil and W-18. In Canada, a paramedic had to be treated with Narcan after being exposed to fentanyl during a call. But EMS is continuing to look into ways to help slow the rising tide of opioid overdose deaths.
Throughout 2016, the EMS industry continued to innovate. Mobile stroke units were implemented at multiple agencies this year. The units were introduced in 2014 to help provide faster stroke treatment to patients, and units were introduced this year in Tennessee, New York, Canada and more. Excellance, Inc. also introduced their own mobile stroke units for sale. Other specialized ambulance, such as the ECMO ambulance used in Ga. by Emory Healthcare to transport adult patients who require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, began to pop up as well.
Best practices continued to evolve across EMS, including a study published in JAMA stating helmet-based ventilation is better than using a face mask for patients in respiratory distress. The study followed 83 patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs’ microscopic air sacs and can lead to partial collapse of the lungs, dangerously low blood-oxygen levels and death. A study in Pennsylvania found that a change in dress code can result in a better overall experience for patients.
Mass casualty incidents stayed in the news, as the shooting at an Orlando nightclub rocked Florida and tested their EMS system. A man in a nightclub shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 more, and 9-1-1 calls detailing the response to the incident continue to be released. One resident in an Orlando trauma center took to Facebook to describe the incident and the effect it had on him. The resident had worked for six years as an Army medic, and had worked as a firefighter/paramedic while in medical school. Across the nation, training and preparation for these types of incidents continued.
Top 10 Most-Read News Stories of 2016:
- Calif. Fire Chief Commits Suicide on Duty—The 51-year-old shot himself in his city-issued car while on duty. A suicide note was found in the car.
- Mass. Mother Overdoses While With Child at Family Dollar—The toddler is seen in a video pulling at her mother’s hand and crying while she is unconscious. Paramedics arrived shortly after and administered Narcan.
- Mobile Stroke Treatment Vehicle Unveiled in Tenn.—The vehicle is meant to help save time combating brain damage in stroke victims. The stroke rate is about 37% above the national average in Memphis.
- Ohio Police Officer Kills Self in Front of Deputies—The officer drove to the local cemetery and was threatening suicide when officers arrived. The other officers attempted to talk the 20-year-veteran down, but were unsuccessful.
- N.Y. Ambulance Crash Kills EMT and Passenger—The ambulance was transporting a passenger when it crashed into the wall of an overpass. The driver was killed instantly.
- Study Spurs Change of Dress Code for Pa. Hospital’s Nurses—The study surveyed patients based on perceptions of professionalism based on clothing, jewelry, tattoos and piercings.
- Calif. Fire Captain Dies After Jumping From Overpass—A 41-year-old fire captain, an 11-year veteran with the Orange County Fire Department, scaled a fence on an overpass and jumped into oncoming traffic. His pickup truck with fire gear inside was found at the top of the overpass.
- Automated CPR Device Delivers Record-Setting Compressions to Mass. Man—After a man suffered cardiac arrest, a LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System delivered compressions for two hours and 42 minutes consecutively, which is believed to be a New England record.
- Study: Helmet-Based Ventilation Superior to Face Mask for Patients With Respiratory Distress—The study, published in JAMA, followed 83 patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs’ microscopic air sacs and can lead to partial collapse of the lungs, dangerously low blood-oxygen levels and death.
- Florida Battalion Chief Takes Own Life After PTSD Facebook Post—The chief’s post read: "PTSD for Firefighters is real. If your love one is experiencing signs get them help quickly. 27 years of deaths and babies dying in your hands is a memory that you will never get rid off. It haunted me daily until now. My love to my crews. Be safe, take care. I love you all."
Month-by-Month News Roundup:
In Washington D.C., a bill was proposed with support from the ACEP and other national EMS organizations. The Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2015 allows EMS agencies to continue using standing orders from their medical director to administer approved medications to their patients under the Drug Enforcement Administration. The organizations in support of the bill represented about 350,000 EMS personnel, firefighters and physicians.
In Texas, multiple EMTs lost their licenses after the state legislature passed a new law prohibiting anyone with a serious criminal record from being an EMT. This included people like Chad Hodnett, an EMT with a decades-old sexual assault charge. Hodnett lost both of his jobs as an EMT and security guard/medical officer.
In Florida, a man passed out in an optometrist office and when an employee called 9-1-1 for help, nobody answered. The employee called three different times to no avail. This was because a dispatcher at the Broward Sherriff’s Office had tied the line up by ordering a pizza. The call to the pizza shop took eight minutes, and four other employees that were supposed to be taking calls were nowhere to be found. This complaint was among a number of issues that have emerged with the Broward Sherriff’s Office dispatch center, according to the Sun Sentinel.
A CCTV America report early in the month chronicled the need for body armor in general in the United States after a large number of mass shootings or terror attacks recently. The report covered the different kinds of body armor, including a bullet-resistant shield designed to protect children as they duck and cover.
The West End Ambulance Service in Pennsylvania began to require paramedics and EMTs to wear body armor early in the month, citing increased protection for employees as the main reason. The service purchased 10 protective vests at about $250 each. In the explanation for the move, Ira Hart, manager of the West End Ambulance Service, cited a similar move made by Cleveland EMS. Cleveland says the policy change is not in a direct response to any specific threats, but is meant to increase safety in general.
Two firefighters and two deputies in Ga. were arrested after evidence showed they stole items from the scene of a crash. A probe showed that while working at a crash scene on I-20, the deputies and firefighters stole items that were scattered around, including cell phone covers, blue tooth headsets and phone chargers. The deputies were terminated, and the firefighters were suspended without pay.
An 85-year-old Calif. resident was upset when, after already having her insurance billed for an emergency ambulance ride, she received a $260 bill for “paramedic response.” The bill came from the city, and she said many city officials were uncooperative or hard to reach when she called to ask questions about the bill. Many cities are adopting 911 response fees, said Aileen Harper, executive director of Center for Health Care Rights, a government-funded nonprofit that helps Medicare beneficiaries.
Early in the month, the Department of Homeland Security launched a project to develop an improved duty uniform meant for first responders. The uniform would provide better protection from the many dangers they encounter, including blood, chemicals, debris, broken glass and more. The DHS worked with the First Responder Technologies Division to work on the project.
After seven months on the job, Dr. Juliette Saussy, who was the Medical Director of the DC Fire and EMS Department, resigned from her position with a scathing letter. The letter says the department was “highly toxic” and lacking accountability. She said this has led to deaths of patients, but that her concerns “fell on deaf ears.”
NHTSA has partnered with NASEMSO on an initiative to develop fatigue risk management guidelines for EMS personnel. The initiative is meant to address the potential dangers of fatigued driving in the EMS workplace, including an increased risk for crashes and providing correct and effective patient care.
In Tennessee, a mobile stroke treatment unit was unveiled by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The vehicle’s is the first in the world to carry a full-sized CT scanner and is equipped to x-ray a brain and use dye in blood vessels to pinpoint the stroke-causing clots, Dr. Andrei Alexandrov says. The team wants to be able to diagnose the issue and give patients damage-limiting treatments within 20 minutes. The average time in Memphis emergency rooms for patients to be given this treatment is 45-55 minutes.
On March 23 in Ohio, a Lima Police Department sergeant took his own life in front of local sheriff’s deputies. The Sgt. David Gillespie had been sitting in a parked car inside a local cemetery and threatening suicide when police were called. When they arrived on scene, they attempted to talk the sergeant down, but were unsuccessful. Gillespie was 43 years old.
In Virginia, two volunteers with the Falmouth Fire Station in Stafford County were suspended after using a fire engine to take a child to the hospital. The 18-month-old was having a seizure, and the two volunteers didn’t think an ambulance would be on-scene for about 10 to 15 minutes. Because the fire engine was licensed as a “non-transport” unit, the two volunteers were disciplined. After a 13-minute transport, the child survived. Later in the month, the fire station was cited by the state for the incident.
Three crew members and a patient died in a medical helicopter crash in Alabama on March 24. The cause of the crash is still waiting to be determined, but weather is expected to have played a heavy factor. Thunderstorms blanketed the area the night of the crash. The helicopter was called after a single-vehicle crash. The NTSB report on the crash will likely not be available for several months.
In further medical-helicopter-related news, on March 16 the NTSB issued their report on a crash that occurred in April of 2015. Flight medic Kristin McLain had fallen from a helicopter in Texas, and the report found that she was “likely not properly fastened,” although the report hesitated to call the findings 100% certain.
As Obama took his first visit to Cuba toward the end of the month, Air Force paramedics transformed a C-17 aircraft into a trauma hospital capable of providing intensive care, ER trauma assessment and surgery and blood banking for support during the visit. The team flew to Cuba ahead of the visit to set up, and configured the aircraft to have the functional trauma capabilities when it landed.
On April 20 in New York, an ambulance crashed into the wall over an overpass, killing an EMT who was driving the ambulance and the patient in the vehicle. An EMT who was in the back of the ambulance treating the patient was taken to the hospital with a broken leg and a concussion. It appeared the ambulance had lost control before swerving, hitting a light post and crashing into the bridge.
In Massachusetts, a man was revived after an automated CPR device delivered compressions for two hours and 42 minutes. The nearly three-hour use of the machine set a New England record, and fell just three minutes shy of the national record. Crews arrived on scene to treat Alfred Kipp after he suffered cardiac arrest at his job. The paramedics used the LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System at the scene, during transport and in preparation for a MedFlight transport. Kipp says he remembers virtually nothing from the day.
After a deadly shooting of a firefighter/paramedic in Prince George’s County, details began to emerge about the incident. John Ulmschneider was shot in the chest as he entered the home of a diabetic man he thought needed treatment. He was rushed to the hospital, but died of his injuries. The man who killed Ulmschneider and shot at his partner was released from police custody without being charged. He had not called for help and thought Ulmschneider and his partner were intruders.
Late in the month in Florida, a suspected drunken driver crashed into a medical helicopter. The helicopter had arrived to transport a pedestrian who had been hit by a different car to the hospital. Emergency vehicles had blocked the lanes of the highway, but the car managed to get around them and crashed into the rear rotor of the helicopter. Crews had to have the helicopter towed away, but the pilot and the passenger were uninjured. The drunken driver was taken into custody and blew a .18.
A paramedic in New Mexico was accused of charging $11,000 to a dead man’s credit card in late April. Michael John Harcharik was arrested after making 49 purchases with the credit card of a man who had been found dead in late March. Harcharik’s unit responded to a call for an unresponsive man found in his home on March 25. Harcharik was then identified on surveillance videos from stores where the dead man’s credit card had been used.
An investigation was opened into an ambulance company after EMTs reported an unresponsive woman as dead. The woman began to move after the ambulance staff left and called the coroner. Police officers were on scene when she called for the ambulance to come back. She was then transported to the hospital, but died while she was there. The head of the ambulance company had no comment at the time.
A study published in JAMA this month showed that using a transparent, air-tight helmet instead of a face mask helped critically ill patients breathe better, and prevented them from needed a ventilator. The study followed 83 patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. The helmets were found to be less likely to leak, enabled care teams to increase air pressure in the helmet, was more comfortable and patients could see through it well.
An 11-year-old girl in Canada was given the privilege of being a “paramedic for a day.” The girl submitted an essay about how essential paramedics are, and was allowed to learn more about ambulances, AEDs and other medical equipment. “Paramedics are essential to the community because they help people who need it,” read part of her essay.
In Oregon, Domino’s employees were to thank for saving the life of a 48-year-old regular customer. Employees at the food chain became concerned after Kirk Alexander, a regular, hadn’t ordered in 11 days. They sent a delivery driver to his house, and called 9-1-1 when they couldn’t get Alexander to answer the door. Deputies found Alexander calling for help in his house, suffering from medical issues that “could have ended his life.” Alexander was in stable condition at the hospital at the time of the story.
Paramedics in Chicago were forced to give back their PPE gear to the Chicago Fire Department. The paramedics were told they needed to return the gear, or pay for it if it was missing. The local union president, Tom Ryan, said they believe the removal of the bunker gear was not in the best interest of the paramedics. The medics were told they will receive new gear that's designed to protect them from bodily fluids and is lighter weight.
A St. Louis paramedic was awarded $50,000 in a lawsuit alleging that her boss retaliated against her after she filed a grievance. The 42-year-old sued the city after her boss added 5 months to her probationary period, but didn’t do the same for two other white paramedics. When she filed the grievance, she said her boss was “loud and verbally aggressive” toward her and threatened to discipline her for subordination.
In California, a transgender EMT sued her employer, Bear Valley Community Hospital, for discrimination. The lawsuit alleged that BVCH fostered a culture of harassment and discrimination that forced her to go out on disability. The 50-year-old had worked as an EMT and an ER technician at the hospital for 8 years. According to the lawsuit, she was regularly bullied, belittled and insulted.
A study found that firefighters in Los Angeles were able to earn up $300,000 in overtime pay. The study found the top 20 overtime earnings by public workers across the state were firefighters with the city of Los Angeles. One firefighter was able to increase his pay to more than four times his base salary through overtime hours.
Columbus, Ohio settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $1.2 million after two paramedics were accused of failing to properly treat a cardiac arrest patient. The patient’s attorney says her client was complaining of breathing problems, chest pains and was blue in the face, but paramedics did not treat her for nearly 25 minutes. She died in the hospital a few days later. The settlement is among the largest payouts in the city’s history.
Emory Healthcare debuted a new, specialized ambulance to transport critically ill adult patients who require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. Emory’s ECMO center is one of a few centers in the southeastern United States that specializes in the management of adult patients. The vehicle, which was created in partnership with MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service, has specialized equipment and expanded seating to accommodate staff and ECMO patients.
A senior resident who worked at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting were rushed, posted a photo of his blood-soaked shoes to Facebook with a heartfelt message after the shooting. The message detailed his night worked in the trauma center and tending to the patients that were brought in. The man had worked for six years as an Army medic, and had worked as a firefighter/paramedic while in medical school.
In a Pa. hospital, a study preceded a change in uniform for nurses and other frontline employees. Patients were surveyed on their perceptions of professionalism based on clothing, jewelry and more, and the authors of the study used the evidence to determine how the nurses and other staff should dress. The nurses began wearing pewter gray and white scrub uniforms with the hospital’s logo and “Registered Nurse” embroidered on the front.
Two Fla. paramedics were charged after participating in a “selfie war.” The pair took photos with sometimes-unknowing patients and sent them back and forth to each other. Some of the photos included unconscious patients, and one of the pair is charged with battery for holding open an unconscious patient’s eyelid. One of the two allegedly also posed with an elderly woman with her breast exposed. The initial investigation found the pair took photos with 36 patients without consent.
A firefighter in S.C. was fired after making inappropriate comments on Facebook about a protest held by Black Lives Matter. Capt. Jimmy Morris was fired after he posted “Idiots shutting down I-126. Better not be there when I get off work or there is gonna be some run over dumb asses.” Morris made another similar post about an hour later. The Columbia fire chief said the comments do not represent the views of the fire department or the city of Columbia.
In a similar incident, a Mass. firefighter was fired after making racial comments on Facebook. After a house party drew more than 1,000 guests, Kyle Greiner, a volunteer firefighter, posted “I can see the next fire call will be this house on fire and I’ll make sure I can’t find the hydrant lol.” A later post said he wanted “no more house party’s with black Boston people.” The city’s fire chief said he was alarmed by the comment, and Greiner was fired.
Some states began tracking physical and verbal assaults on healthcare personnel in an attempt to stop these types of incidents. Nearly 56% of emergency room nurses surveyed said they faced physical of verbal violence in the week prior to the survey, and more than 75% of emergency room physicians experience at least one incident of violence each year according to Jay Falk, an emergency room doctor in Florida. Eighteen states since 2012 have taken steps to toughen penalties for the people who become violent, and another 12 are looking at other measures.
Toward the beginning of the month, warnings about the danger of a new wave of dangerous drugs began to spread. In Pennsylvania, officials warned about dozens who had died from ingesting Carfentanil and W-18, both synthetically manufactured painkillers. According to an intelligence briefing sent to law enforcement in the area, the drugs are extremely potent and are used to tranquilize elephants. Officials said the use of naloxone is necessary for reviving patients who overdose from these drugs or heroin.
In Louisiana, the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services Foundation donated six active shooter kits to New Orleans EMS. A nearly $24,000 grant from Hermes Beyond the Parade allowed them to purchase the kits. The kits consisted of two level-IV ballistic vests, two ballistic helmets, two “active shooter” bags containing triage supplies and medical supplies and one Cordura litter. The bags were designed by Palmisano and 5.11 Tactical.
On Aug. 9, a search and rescue team member in Calif. was shot. The team was searching for a missing 75-year-old man in Nevada County when shots rang out from the mountainside, and one member of the team was hit by a bullet in the hip. Helicopter crews continued searching the area for the missing man the next day.
A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine said expanding the responsibilities of nurses in the emergency room can shorten patients’ stays. The study says nurse-driven protocols can shorten the median time to administer some medicine and complete some tests, and the average length of stay was reduced by almost four hours by implementing nurse-driven fractured hip protocols. The study can be found here.
A paramedic in Calif. faced 26 charges this month after being accused of setting off an explosive device in a neighbor’s planter. Police found bomb-making materials inside his home when he was arrested. The 32-year-old was a paramedic with the San Francisco Fire Department, and he had a history of arguments with the neighbor. Other neighbors told police he had left notes on the neighbor’s windshield, broke the windows of their vehicle and slashed their tires.
In Mass., a mother overdosed while at a Family Dollar store with her child. In a video captured by an onlooker, the child can be seen pulling at the mother and crying as she lies unconscious on the floor of the store. Paramedics arrived shortly after and administered two doses of Narcan to revive the woman. While searching for identification, police found drug paraphernalia in the woman’s diaper bag.
After being transported to a hospital in a fire truck, a four-month-old Ga. girl died. The infant was transported to Midtown Medical Center in a fire truck because a Columbus Fire and EMS ambulance was not immediately available. The baby had been put down for a nap and about an hour and half later was found unresponsive. The parents called 9-1-1, and paramedics performed CPR for two minutes on-scene before transporting her. Columbus Fire & EMS Assistant Chief Robert Futrell said it was extremely rare for a patient to be transported on a fire truck.
A police official in Conn. said members of a SWAT team were sickened from drug exposure. Eleven members of the team were sickened when they entered a drug house and seized nearly 50,000 bags of heroin. Some of the members had sore throats, headaches and nausea, which are all classic symptoms of airborne heroin/fentanyl exposure, the deputy chief said. Members of the team were taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, where they were treated and released.
A Dallas medical director helped roll out public access trauma kits to help civilians treat gunshot wounds and other serious injuries until professionals arrive. The kits include gloves, gauze and tourniquets. The police department already uses the kits, but the rise in active shooter situations prompted the city to provide the kits to the public as well. “Hemmorhage control is the CPR of the 21st century,” said Dr. Alex Eastman, medical director and chief surgeon at Parkland’s Rees-Jones Trauma Center.
An EMS provider in Tenn. was stabbed in the neck while responding to a call. After a call came in for a vagrant on campus, first responders found the person and were asking about their medical state. The person then used keys to stab an EMS provider in the neck. The employee was taken to a hospital and received 14 stitches, but then returned to finish their shift.
On October 15, a Fla. fire chief took his own life after making a post on Facebook regarding PTSD. The 48-year-old drove his pickup truck into the woods and shot himself after letting dispatch know where he could be found. Earlier in the day, he had posted on Facebook about struggling with PTSD. His post read: “PTSD for Firefighters is real. If your love one is experiencing signs get them help quickly. 27 years of deaths and babies dying in your hands is a memory that you will never get rid off. It haunted me daily until now. My love to my crews. Be safe , take care. I love you all.”
A fire chief in Pennsylvania was terminated after he took an aerial ladder to a funeral. Chief Keith Weavers, who had held the position of fire chief for 13 years, requested the fire department supply a ladder truck to hang an American flag at a funeral. The request was denied, but Weavers took the apparatus to the funeral anyways. He was terminated in a 6-1 vote by the borough council for insubordination.
An overdose on carfentanil had Maine police on high alert. The 24-year-old had to be revived with five doses of Narcan after overdosing on the elephant tranquilizer, which is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. The man was taken to the hospital after being revived. Police and other first responders were on high alert, because the drug is absorbable through the skin and can be potentially harmful to anyone who comes in contact with it.
MedStar in Texas was the host to two nurse/paramedics from Switzerland. Giorgio De Ambroggi and Giacomo Sommaruga came to Forth Worth to participate in a two-week internship with MedStar to learn what EMS services in America are like. The pair learned about the MedStar system, clinical protocols used by EMTs and paramedics, ambulance staffing, 9-1-1 dispatch, MIH programs and more.
New York Presbyterian, in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine, Columbia University and the FDNY, launched a mobile stroke treatment unit. The unit was the first of its kind on the East Coast. The unit is staffed by two paramedics, a computed tomography technologist and neurologist. The unit also contains equipment and medications specific to diagnosing and treating strokes, including tPA.
A Canadian firefighter/paramedic had to be treated with Narcan after what officials suspect was exposure to fentanyl. Officials say the paramedic began feeling high was experiencing some respiratory distress after leaving the residence, and was immediately treated with Narcan by paramedics. The paramedic was shaken up, but made a full recovery and returned to work. Alex Forrest, president of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg, says he believes this is the first case of a first responder in Winnipeg accidentally ingesting a dangerous amount of the drug.
A Calif. man died after fleeing an ambulance and jumping from the third floor of a parking garage. The patient was cooperative at the scene, but when the ambulance doors opened at the hospital, the man unstrapped himself and exited the vehicle. The man then ran to the third story of the parking garage and jumped off. The man was taken into the hospital’s emergency room, but pronounced dead.
A Texas volunteer firefighter was offered a plea deal in charges that stemmed from an apparent hazing incident in January of 2015. If the Keith Wisakowsky, 28, pleads guilty to a Class A misdemeanor assault charge, he would be sentenced to two years of probation, and four others involved in the case would have their charges dropped. The charges stemmed from allegations that the group of five bent another firefighter over and sexually assaulted him with a broomstick and a sausage.
A Md. fire lieutenant’s Facebook posts came under investigation from the Baltimore County Fire Department after he used a social media account to discuss racial tensions in the department. The posts cautioned co-workers not to “start behaving like their ancestors during Slavery and Pre-Civil rights days.” The county fire department also has its own social media policy, which prohibits fire employees from posting things that constitute harassment, hate speech or libel. The Facebook post also tells co-workers "We are a new generation of African Americans and you will get yo (expletive) whipped."
An Australian ambulance service launched a campaign to ask the public to reconsider if their situation is actually an emergency. The “Is Your Urgency an Emergency?” campaign was launched after figures showed a high number of people calling for paramedic care for relatively minor ailments, such as sprains, coughs, colds, headaches, hiccups or sleeplessness. For example, in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, 540 people called for paramedics for toothaches, and 236 called because they couldn’t sleep. Senior Assistant Commissioner David Dutton, Executive Director Service Delivery, said the campaign is designed to ensure non-emergency patients are aware of the wide range of treatment pathways available to them.
In California, a fire captain was killed after he jumped from an interstate overpass. The 41-year-old, an 11-year veteran of the Orange County Fire Department, was killed by oncoming traffic after he jumped. California Highway Patrol found his pickup truck with fire gear inside at the top of the overpass.
Parents of a teenager who was found frozen to death in Minnesota filed a lawsuit against first responders. After reviewing paramedic reports and scene photos from their child’s 2013 death, the parents decided to sue the first responders for negligence, alleging they failed to deliver appropriate care in the moments after he was found along the Mississippi River after an ugly sweater party. They alleged the responders failed to follow protocols that would have called for immediately removing the 19-year-old from the cold and taking him to an emergency room.
A Fla. Sherriff’s deputy died after being treated with ketamine for alcohol-induced delirium. The 32-year-old deputy attended a birthday celebration and after being treated with ketamine for alcohol-induced delirium, he went into cardiac arrest twice. He had been acting disorderly at the bar and was argumentative when staff cut him off. An EMS spokeswoman said the paramedics and EMTs in the incident followed standard protocol.
A N.J. firefighter was removed from his job after a shoplifting conviction in August of 2015 for $7.98. Ashton G. Funk, 34, stole the merchandise from a Wawa convenience store, and an order was filed making Funk surrender his public employment. An appeal was turned down by the county’s superior court. The prosecutor pushed for Funk’s dismissal from his job because he had been found guilty of a crime involving dishonesty.
Delta Airlines changed a policy after an incident with a doctor on a flight in Detroit. Two months prior, an African-American doctor posted a message on Facebook that went viral alleging mistreatment by crewmembers when she offered to help an ill passenger. The woman says crewmembers were condescending when she offered help, but allowed a white male doctor to help the passenger. The airline says it will no longer require physicians, EMTs and other medical professionals to procure identification before helping ill passengers.