DENVER -- A man used a fake credential to work as a paramedic on the Front Range for 17 months before the forgery was discovered, KUSA-TV in Denver reported.
Todd Teel, 40, worked as a paramedic at Greenwood Village-based American Medical Response from July 2006 until December 2007 at AMR's Denver and Longmont divisions, the station reported.
Teel was a certified emergency medical technician from 2004 to 2007, but the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians reports Teel was never a certified paramedic, KUSA reported Thursday.
The registry said Teel forged a paper credential indicating he had received the required 1,200 hours of training needed to be a paramedic.
Teel did not respond to requests for comment, KUSA said.
Randy Kuykendall, head of the state health department's Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Section, said AMR should have checked Teel's documentation against state or national records available online, which would have revealed the forgery.
Entry-level EMT certification requires far less medical knowledge than the paramedic certification, which is generally offered as a two-year degree program, Kuykendall said.
''The gulf between the two in terms of skill, knowledge and critical thinking is definitely huge,'' he told KUSA.
AMR told KUSA that Teel's doctored documents were discovered when he requested a transfer from the metro area to Longmont. AMR said Teel was immediately placed on unpaid leave, and he ended his employment shortly after that.
AMR reported its discovery to the state, which confirmed Teel was not a certified paramedic, and to the Longmont Fire Department, KUSA reported.
AMR said it has since enhanced its process for verifying credentials.
The company did not say whether Teel injured or killed a patient in his care and did not reveal how many calls Teel responded to as a paramedic. It also did not say what steps initially were taken to verify Teel's credential.
It is not illegal in Colorado to impersonate a paramedic.
KUSA reported that Teel tried to use his forged credential to get a job in Wyoming in February, but the document was flagged and he was rejected.