Volunteer' EMS Worker has Court Date


Calvin R. Trice | | Monday, November 10, 2008

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. -- A Goochland County man accused of impersonating an emergency-services worker while tending to a heart attack victim is scheduled to appear in court this month to face two misdemeanor charges.

Police said Adam V. Tatum, 33, offered services as an advanced life-support technician twice this year and even rode in an ambulance with Goochland EMS workers transporting a cardiac-arrest victim.

Tatum was turned down when he offered life support services in May, but he raised suspicions during the second incident, an ambulance run in June. Investigators with the Goochland Sheriff's Office interviewed Tatum when he returned and arrested him the next day, Sheriff James L. Agnew said.

Each count of impersonating a public-safety worker is punishable by up to 12 years in prison or a $2,500 fine. Tatum apparently listened to local dispatch calls seeking advanced life-support workers when basic life-support responders needed someone with the higher level of training to treat a patient, the sheriff said. Sometimes, dispatchers have to make several calls to get a volunteer rescue worker to a scene.

On May 19, a call for advanced life support went out from a correctional center, and Tatum called the dispatcher to offer his services, Agnew said. Eddie Ferguson, deputy EMS chief of Goochland County Volunteer Fire-Rescue, was on duty and declined the offer.

Ferguson wasn't on duty June 8 when basic life-support workers called for someone with advanced training to help with a woman suffering a heart attack in the Hadensville area. After the dispatcher sent out several calls, Tatum called, identified himself as a rescue worker with a Henrico County squad and offered to help, Agnew said. He arranged to meet the rescue workers at a gas station off Interstate 64's Oilville interchange and rode with the crew to a hospital in Henrico, the sheriff said. Tatum tried and failed to administer an intravenous line and, investigators believe, administered a nitroglycerine pill, Agnew said. Agnew believes Tatum had some life-support training but not enough to qualify for EMS work.

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