A bill in the legislature that would open public access to EMS records is being threatened by a state EMS official who wants to keep the names of emergency medical responders secret.
Former state Rep. Steve Lanford, who is now executive director of the S.C. Emergency Medical Services Association, said the bill could subject emergency responders to undue criticism and public scrutiny.
"The paramedic could become the victim," Lanford said. "My responsibility is to protect the names of paramedics. ... I want to make sure that people that are innocent don't get wrongly accused by someone who is non-medical."
Bill Rogers, director of the S.C. Press Association, called Lanford's claim "ridiculous," saying EMS responders shouldn't be treated differently than police officers, firefighters and other public employees.
"Of course patients have a right to privacy, but EMS technicians don't," Rogers said. "The public should know who's treating them."
Lanford said he doesn't think emergency medical responders should be compared to other public employees.
"They're medical people," he said. "What do you (the media) need with it? You don't need it," he said. ".. It's just to smear their names."Read More, Bill to open EMS records runs into fierce opposition from trade group