Massachusetts Paramedics Cited in Fatal Call


CHARIS ANDERSON | | Thursday, September 17, 2009

ACUSHNET Three Acushnet paramedics were penalized this month by the state Department of Public Health for mistakes made during a July emergency call, including the incorrect administration of a drug, according to a state report.

The paramedics Laurie Gonsalves, Michael Mentzer and Thomas Farland received letters of clinical deficiency that will remain in their state files for two years, according to a complaint investigation report issued by the public health department.

All three paramedics were cited by the state for failing to complete a proper patient assessment, while Gonsalves was also cited for the medication error.

According to Emergency Medical Services Chief Kevin Gallagher, the paramedic responsible for the medication error was placed on an unpaid leave of absence immediately after the July 5 incident and has not yet returned to work; Gallagher would not confirm the paramedic's name.

Additionally, the Acushnet EMS department required the three paramedics to complete about six hours of remediation training, according to Gallagher.

Gallagher confirmed the patient in question died, but "no one has said" the mistakes made during the call contributed to the patient's death, he said.

"The medical professionals that reviewed the incident had a range of options available to them, from taking no action to suspending the certification to practice," he said. "They chose six hours of classroom remediation."

Mentzer had no comment, Farland did not return a call for comment and Gonsalves could not be reached for comment.

The various sanctions stem from an incident in early July when Mentzer responded to a report of a possible stroke patient, according to the state report.

Read More, 3 Acushnet paramedics cited in flawed emergency call

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