Archive | June, 2010

Medic big’s joke is DOA

Posted on 28 June 2010 by wyoskibum

NEW YORK CITY, NY – He got punked — by himself.

An EMS lieutenant with a sick sense of humor is likely to lose his FDNY job thanks to a tasteless joke that violated federal medical-privacy law.

Bozo boss Michael Palleschi, 36, posted details online of a 911 call he found hilarious — a woman complaining of a swollen vagina — without redacting the patient’s name and address, sources said.

FDNY top brass found nothing comical about Palleschi’s behavior and pushed to get him fired.

Even as his job hung in the balance, the pudgy prankster got into hot water again — this time for an alleged joke on a teenager in the EMS Explorer program at the Brooklyn EMS station in Canarsie, where Palleschi had been exiled on modified duty, sources said.

The juvenile high jinks got Palleschi hauled in for a second investigation, the FDNY said.

An anonymous tipster told the FDNY that, two weeks ago, Palleschi wrote a stickup note demanding cash, then folded it up and passed it to the young Explorer, claiming it was a coffee and bagel order that he should get filled at the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.

According to sources, Palleschi admitted he added a line about a stickup to a coffee order compiled at the station but said he ripped that part off before the Explorer ever left the building to hand it to a Dunkin’ Donuts clerk.

The EMS Explorer program, part of an effort to recruit members into the FDNY, brings in local kids, usually between 16 and 20, from area high schools and colleges to intern at EMS stations.

An FDNY spokesman declined to comment on its problem prankster.

In the first incident, Palleschi took a picture of the computer screen in his ambulance that displays patient names, addresses, medical complaint and other sensitive personal data and uploaded it to his Facebook page because a woman’s description of her swollen vagina amused him, sources said.

It was a serious violation of the strict federal rules — known as HIPAA — that protect the privacy of individual health information and patient confidentiality.

Palleschi’s union head, Vincent Variale, said neither probe had yet returned conclusive evidence that he had done anything wrong. “Investigations are still ongoing, and until they are finished, it would be unfair to draw conclusions,” he said.


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Ambulance carrying patient involved three-car wreck

Posted on 24 June 2010 by wyoskibum

An ambulance carrying a patient to a local hospital was involved in a three-car wreck that is backing up traffic off U.S. Highway 281 in Pharr.

Pharr police told Action 4 News that the accident happened on the southbound lanes of Highway 281 at Sioux Road around 8:50 a.m. Tuesday.

HARLINGTON, TX – Investigators said the ambulance was carrying a patient to a hospital in McAllen when it became involved in the accident.

Police said another ambulance has been called to take the patient to the hospital.

Details about the accident were not immediately available but police are continuing to investigate.

Traffic is backed up but police are rerouting traffic off Highway 281 and on to the frontage road.


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Ambulance rollover crash brings charges

Posted on 24 June 2010 by wyoskibum

Smyrna, Del. — A 20-year-old Bear man was charged with inattentive driving June 18 after Delaware State Police investigated a 10:33 a.m. crash involving two ambulances.

Police said Beth Ann Campbell, 26, of Lewes, was traveling north on Route 1 just north of Route 9 south in Smyrna in a privately owned ambulance. She slowed her vehicle due to construction and was struck from behind by a privately owned ambulance driven by Philip D. Brackin. Police said Brackin’s vehicle continued northbound into the median, rolling on its right side and coming to rest. He was charged with inattentive driving.

A front seat passenger in Brackin’s vehicle was transported by ambulance to the Kent General Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Route 1 north was closed for approximately an hour.


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Ambulance fire at Unity Hospital

Posted on 24 June 2010 by wyoskibum

ROCHESTER, NY – Officials at Unity Health say a Monroe Ambulance parked in front of the emergency room entrance area at Unity Hospital on Long Pond Road in Greece caught fire just before 5:30 p.m.

Unity Health officials say smoke entered the emergency room area, and 45 patients who were inside were quickly evacuated by staff into a special care area. No injuries were reported.

Fire officials say an electrical problem in the engine may have caused the fire. They say at one point, the flames rose 15 to 20 feet in the air. Fire officials say the ambulance is a complete loss, but the flames did not spread into the hospital. The outside of building was damaged from the smoke.

Unity Health officials say they expect to have the emergency room up and running as usual by late this evening. As of 6:30 p.m., the hospital was accepting walk-in patients at an alternate entrance and the emergency room area was still closed to ambulance traffic.


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3 people injured in eastern Missouri ambulance accident

Posted on 24 June 2010 by wyoskibum

TROY, Mo — Three people are recovering after an ambulance overturned in eastern Missouri.

The Hannibal Courier-Post reports that the wreck happened Saturday in Lincoln County. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 25-year-old Jessica Gulley of O’Fallon was driving an ambulance when the right front tire went off the road.

Authorities say she overcorrected, causing the ambulance to cross the center line and eventually overturn.

Gulley had minor injuries. Two others in the ambulance, 43-year-old Carol Jastering of Foley and 32-year-old Brian Schulz of Troy, had moderate injuries. All three were taken to a hospital.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Jastering and Schulz were ambulance workers or if they were being transported.


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Lexington Firefighters in EMT probe face pay cuts

Posted on 24 June 2010 by wyoskibum

BOSTON, MA – Lexington firefighters who are facing state action for lying about training for recertification as EMTs and paramedics would also have their pay cut, Town Manager Carl Valente said Wednesday.

The state has recommended temporarily suspending the emergency certifications of six firefighters as of July 1 and permanently revoking one firefighter’s certification.

Valente said that once that happens firefighters losing their EMT certification would face a 8 % cut in pay, while those with losing paramedic certification would have their pay cut 12.5%.

Valente said the town is continuing its investigation into the firefighters and their alleged participation in the recertification faking scheme. The town manager said he hopes the local inquiry — which is being conducted by town officials, including the fire chief — will be finished as soon as early next week. He said he could not yet comment on whether the firefighters will lose their jobs.

The state Department of Public Health said the seven Lexington firefighters are among more than 200 EMTs and paramedics statewide who lied about attending required training courses, and received credentials without taking the proper refresher courses.

The DPH announced last week that it would suspend the certifications of Joseph Foley, Aaron Paskalis, John Ritchie, George-Arthur Robinson, Mark Schofield and Ken Tremblay for nine months, effective July 1.

The state has permanently yanked the the emergency certification of Mark Culleton, a 24-year veteran of the fire department and its re-certification coordinator, who is alleged to have faked documents for his colleagues, as well as dozens of other EMTs from other communities though his private Billerica-based training company. Culleton has also had his license as an emergency medical instructor revoked.

Culleton is on paid administrative leave from his job pending the outcome of the town inquiry, Valente said. Culleton has surrendered his paramedic and teaching certification, according to state investigators. His lawyer has said he is appealing the state actions.

The other six firefighters continue to work for the department. Five are EMTs and one is a paramedic.

Some of the six are apparently seeking First Responder certificates this week — a training credential that allows them to serve as Lexington firefighters in the absence of the EMT classification, Valente said.

Any such training is done on the employees’ own time and is not paid for by the town, he said.

Meanwhile, Lexington has sufficient credentialed personnel to cover its two ambulances, he said.

“The thing we want to convey most to our residents is that we are taking this very seriously. We are being deliberate with our investigation, but we are moving it along as quickly as we can,” Valente said.


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Mass. suspends 207 EMTS for faking certifications

Posted on 20 June 2010 by wyoskibum

BOSTON, MA – More than 200 emergency medical technicians have been suspended for falsifying training records after an 18-month investigation revealed that the workers hadn’t attended required refresher classes, the state announced Thursday.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said 207 EMTs will have their licenses suspended for 45 days to nine months, depending on the severity of the falsifications. Private companies and municipalities that employ the emergency workers may also take their own disciplinary actions, the state said.

The agency said the emergency workers claimed they completed training they never attended to gain recertifications. Most of the workers are from the Merrimack Valley and Greater Boston, according to public health officials.

Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach said there has been a “systemic effort to falsify information” by some emergency workers.

The EMTs “knowingly signed up for and paid for trainings fully aware that they would never be held,” Auerbach said. There have been no complaints of inappropriate care because of EMTs failing to go through recertification courses, he said.

The department launched an investigation after receiving tips that EMTs, paramedics, police officers and firefighters from Massachusetts and New Hampshire were getting documentation from certificate mills without attending the required classes.

The department will begin taking steps to prevent such abuses from recurring, including requiring emergency workers to take an ethics class, Auerbach said. He said the length of the suspensions should be a deterrent to others considering falsifying credentials.

Public health officials said the suspended workers come from 10 private and 14 municipal ambulance services, but the department wouldn’t release the names of the ambulance services.

The Department of Public Health has referred the matter to the attorney general’s office.

EMTs are expected to take refresher courses once every two years. The courses review basic skills and cover new procedures.

“The vast majority of Massachusetts’ 24,000 EMTs are properly certified and in compliance with required training,” said JudyAnn Bigby, the secretary of Health and Human Services, in a statement.

The emergency workers can repeal their suspensions.

The suspensions will go into effect July 1 to give ambulance services enough time to find replacements. Several EMTs have already been terminated by their employers, public health officials said.


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5 hurt in Manhattan Beach accident involving 3 cars, ambulance

Posted on 17 June 2010 by wyoskibum

Ambulance Crash

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA – Five people received minor injuries Wednesday morning when an ambulance carrying a seriously ill patient was struck in a Manhattan Beach intersection in an accident involving four vehicles.

The private AmeriCare ambulance had its red lights flashing and siren on as it traveled eastbound at Rosecrans and Sepulveda boulevards, said a Manhattan Beach fire official.

The ambulance was struck by another vehicle in the intersection, followed by two other vehicles.

Five people were examined at the scene.

The patient who had been in the ambulance did not suffer any injuries and was taken to the hospital by an El Segundo paramedic unit. The ambulance attendant riding in the back with the patient was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The other three people involved in the accident had minor injuries but declined medical transport.

Responding to the accident were two fire engines, one paramedic unit, one ambulance unit and one battalion chief from Manhattan Beach as well as an engine company, paramedic unit and battalion chief from El Segundo.


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Man charged with attacking paramedic, cop

Posted on 17 June 2010 by wyoskibum

CARBONDALE, IL – A Carbondale man was arrested after allegedly attacking a paramedic and police officer over the weekend.

William J. Altmayer is charged with aggravated battery to a paramedic, aggravated battery to a peace officer and resisting a peace officer.

Police received a call about Altmayer being intoxicated in the 100 block of West College Street just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday.  The alleged incident occurred as officials were responding to the scene.

Altmayer was taken to Jackson County Jail in Murphysboro.


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Two people go to hospital after crash involving ambulance

Posted on 17 June 2010 by wyoskibum

DUNBAR, W.Va.– A three-vehicle crash in Dunbar involving a Kanawha County ambulance sent three, including a toddler, to the hospital with injuries.

Kanawha Metro 911 dispatchers said it happened about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in Dunbar.

Dunbar Sgt. S.E. Elliott said Bryce White was heading north on 10th Street and was turning left onto Fairlawn Avenue when his vehicle was struck T-bone style by a Chrysler Lebaron heading south on 10th Street.

The force of the crash pushed the Focus into a Kanawha County ambulance that was sitting at the stoplight on Fairlawn Avenue.

The force of the crash also caused the car’s airbags to deploy, Elliot said.

White and his two passengers, Heather Sampson and her 2-year-old daughter, both of Charleston, suffered minor injuries in the crash and were transported to Charleston Area Medical Center’s General Hospital for treatment.

The four in the ambulance, including the driver and the three in the back — including a female patient being transported to a local hospital for non-emergency reasons — were not injured.

The police were still investigating and as of Wednesday evening hadn’t yet determined who was at fault.


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Two men arrested in San Dimas for suspected battery of paramedic

Posted on 17 June 2010 by wyoskibum

SAN DIMAS, CA – Two men were arrested Monday on suspicion of battery against a Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic, sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday.

The two men, both adults, were involved in an altercation with the paramedic at about 4 p.m. in the 100 block of Gladstone Street, officials said.

Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics responded to a call of a woman with chest pains after she and her son were involved in an argument, sheriff’s and county fire officials said.

After treating the woman, the men became involved in some sort of altercation with the paramedic, Fire Department Inspector Fred Stowers said.

The paramedic was not harmed and no one was transported to the hospital as a result of the incident, Stowers said.

The men were arrested for suspected felony battery on a firefighter, and one was also arrested for burglary after he was suspected of breaking into a house while fleeing the scene, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Joe McDonald said.

It was unclear why the two men engaged the paramedic, McDonald said.

“Stupidity, I think,” McDonald said. “We are still trying to determine that, why he decided to pick on a firefighter who was trying to take care of his mother.”

Anthony Castro, 19, of Santa Clarita, was arrested on suspicion of felony battery of a firefighter, according to sheriff’s booking information. He is scheduled for arraignment Thursday at Pomona Superior Court and is being held on $50,000 bail.

Information on the other man was not immediately available.

Stowers said paramedics called for sheriff’s deputies assistance. Deputies then took over the scene following their arrival, Stowers said.

As far as he knew, the confrontation was not physical.

“The paramedic wasn’t attacked,” Stowers said. “With all of our firefighters on scene, a person could have become belligerent and that could have lead to it. Threatening the safety of firemen at the scene … that could go down as battery.”


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Police: More charges likely against fired firefighter

Posted on 17 June 2010 by wyoskibum

DAYTONA, FL – A Port Orange firefighter-paramedic charged with sneaking into the homes of patients to steal their prescriptions has been fired, city officials said.

Michael Michaud, 38, an 11-year-veteran with Port Orange Fire and Rescue, was terminated Friday after an internal affairs investigation found he violated several departmental policies, in addition to several felonies.

Among them are burglary of an occupied dwelling and burglary, police said. In addition, Michaud took confidential patient information, lied to police, asked other firefighters to lie for him and failed to inform his superiors that he takes medication that could impede his ability to operate fire apparatus, the investigation shows.

According to Port Orange police, Michaud lied his way into the homes of six different patients so he could take their prescription medications. Going back to the residences when he was off-duty, but still in uniform, Michaud would say he had left behind a tool, police said.

Although he has been charged with burglary of a dwelling and burglary, the investigation still continues and more charges are likely, Port Orange police said recently.

In addition Michaud’s wife, 23-year-old Ashley Michaud — a firefighter with Edgewater — had been placed on administrative leave from her job so officials there could investigate whether she had any role in her husband’s dealings.

But because there was never any evidence against her, Ashley Michaud returned to work earlier this month.


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Motorcycle rider dies in collision with ambulance

Posted on 14 June 2010 by wyoskibum

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ — A Jackson Township motorcyclist was killed when he collided with an ambulance taking an elderly woman to the hospital late last night, authorities said.

Charles Childs, 27, was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle on North Hope Chapel Road shortly before midnight when he crossed the center line and hit the southbound ambulance, police said.

The crew from the Jackson First Aid Squad immediately jumped out of the ambulance to assist Childs, authorities said. He was later pronounced dead at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

The 78-year-old woman being transported by the rescue squad to Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood was transferred to a second ambulance, police said. Neither the 22-year-old Jackson First Aid Squad ambulance driver nor the two rescue squad members were hurt.


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Ex-EMS Director Accused Of Stealing 55K

Posted on 14 June 2010 by wyoskibum

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. — GBI agents charged Former Gilmer County EMS Director Leslie Hightower with stealing more than $55,000 in funds meant for the county’s ambulance service. Hightower surrendered to sheriff’s deputies Thursday afternoon.

County officials were alerted to financial discrepancies in the EMS department back in May, just days after they laid off Hightower due to budget cuts. “Through the system of the annual audit, we found inconsistencies that led to our questions that brought in the district attorney’s office and the GBI,” said Gilmer County Commission Chairman Mark Chastain.  “We run a pretty tight financial ship and watch our nickels and dimes and pennies.  The fact there was a way (for her) to accomplish this is pretty disappointing.”

According to the affidavit filed by the GBI, investigators said Hightower diverted checks meant to pay Gilmer County EMS for ambulance service into an account to which only she had access.  Agents said Hightower used that money to make house and car payments and to pay credit card bills. “It’s unbelievable,” said Bill Kinney, an Ellijay resident when he learned of the charges. “As broke as this county is, this is the last thing we need.”Gilmer County District Attorney Joe Hendricks also expressed disappointment with the arrest. “For someone to be taking public funds and using them to pay her own credit card and house payments is a really terrible thing,” he said.

Hightower was released from jail just a few hours after she surrendered once she posted a $30,000 property bond.

Chastain tried to reassure taxpayers that they will not be on the hook for the missing money. “Between our insurance policy and our coverage against such acts and the courts system, the taxpayers will not be on the hook for this.”


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