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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Paramedics Return to Full Duty - Protocols Updated

Two paramedics assigned to limited public contact since last Friday have received medical clearance to return to full duty. The actions of the paramedics were called into question after their initial assessment that a patient was presumed deceased was not accurate. The patient was transported to the hospital about 1-½ hours later by another EMS unit where he succumbed to his illness the next day.

The Emergency Medical Services Operational Program moved swiftly to initiate a clinical Quality Assurance Review of this incident. The Jurisdictional Medical Director, Dr. Terry Jodrie, interviewed both paramedics on Friday, just hours after the incident occurred. A Provider Action Notice was issued within 24 hours of the incident requiring all EMS personnel to review the Presumed Dead on Arrival (PDOA) protocols. This includes an update that most PDOA determinations must include a medical consult between the EMS care provider and a base station physician by EMS radio or telephone.

While the two paramedics have returned to full duty with clearance of the Medical Director, the Office of Professional Standards continues their review. This comprehensive process includes a review of applicable Departmental General Orders, Standard Operating Procedures and interviews of everyone involved. These reviews could take up to 2 months before being completed.

Friday's incident in Glenarden is extremely regrettable for everyone involved and the Fire/EMS Department is doing everything possible to avoid any reoccurrence.

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