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State by State: October 2019

MARYLAND: Court Rules in Favor of Medics Accused of Negligence

A Maryland Court of Appeals denied a family monetary damages in the 2011 death of a Baltimore man, saying that while medics did not follow protocol when treating him for a heart attack, their conduct did not constitute “gross negligence.” In a 4-3 ruling, the court wrote that Joseph Stracke and Stephanie Cisneros did not act in a grossly negligent way when they “inaccurately diagnosed and treated” Kerry Butler Jr., 28, who died of a heart attack at Medstar Harbor Hospital March 2, 2011. Majority judges warned that had they ruled in the Butler family’s favor, it “would have a negative impact on not only the number of individuals who seek employment as first responders in the future, but would create a chilling effect on their conduct.”

PENNSYLVANIA: Murdered Scientist’s Study on Medic Assaults Published

A federally funded study on assaults against firefighters and paramedics led by Drexel University scientist Jasmine Y. Wright was published Aug. 16 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. In 2015, Wright, 27, was raped and murdered by a former maintenance worker at her West Philadelphia apartment complex. It would be more than a year before her colleagues could put aside their grief to finish Wright’s work. “She was really committed to the [emergency] service on this issue,” said Jennifer Taylor, associate professor in environmental and occupational health, who helped complete the study.

FLORIDA: Search Called Off for FFs Missing After Fishing Trip

At press time the U.S. Coast Guard had suspended a massive air and water search for 
Brian McCluney, 37, an engineer/paramedic at Jacksonville’s Station 31, and Justin Walker, 33, a master technician at Station 5B in Franconia, Va. Both disappeared during a fishing trip that began Aug. 16 at Port Canaveral on a 24-foot center-console craft. Over 105,000 square miles of ocean off Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas were scoured by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as hundreds of volunteers in boats and aircraft.

TEXAS: Study: Majority of Medics Have Been Assaulted On Duty

About three out of five Austin-Travis County EMS medics say they have been physically assaulted more than once on the job in the past two years, a new survey by the department says. Austin-Travis County EMS e-mailed two surveys to its field medics and communications staff. The survey found that 22 communications employees had been verbally assaulted more than once in the last two years, and 132 field medics had been physically assaulted more than once in the last two years. Most assaults on medics happened in the backs of ambulances, while communications staff were often verbally assaulted by 9-1-1 callers.
 

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